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Interview:
Country star Jerrod Niemann finds inspiration in "ignorance"
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Jerrod Niemann likes to make music from a perspective of "ignorance is bliss."

And he says that's directly responsible for the sonic twists and turns of his third album, "High Noon."

"If I go with instinct and roll with the ignorance is bliss mentality, I usually come up with some pretty weird stuff," says Niemann, 34, a Kansas native who wrote songs for Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton and others before launching his artist career with the 2010 country chart-topper "Lover, Lover." "I'll plug an acoustic guitar into an electric amp, do all kinds of things -- probably a lot of no-no's, just to try to do something that sounds different than anything else that's out there.

"Then I get into the studio with (co-producer) Jimmie Lee Solas and he'll take my whacked out versions and help me get 'em into shape. If I didn't accomplish what I was going for he knows me well enough to know what I'm going for and will massage it into that. But we still try to make it different and unique."

With contemporary touches such as vocal Auto-Tune, loops and hip-hop touches in "Donkey" and the closing "She's Fine" with country rapper Colt Ford, "High Noon," Niemann certainly carves out his own niche with "High Noon," which debuted at No. 3 on Bilboard's Country Albums chart in March, while the single "Drink to That All Night" was No. 4 on Country Singles and No. 1 on Country Airplay. That's a bit of a relief for Niemann, too, as 2012's "Free the Music" was something of a commercial disappointment and he was anxious for a rebound.

"The last single I had before this ('Only God Could Love You More') died at 29," Niemann says, "and I was, 'Man, I don't know what's gonna happen next.' I didn't know if that was the nail in the coffin or opportunity knocking on the door.

"Luckily ('Drink to That All Night') just got to No. 1 by the grace of God. But I really didn't know what to predict. You've got to learn to smell the crap out of the roses where you can. So I'm excited to be back and in the game and I'm just gonna try to keep making the right decisions musically and connect the dots and keep gaining more support."

Jerrod Niemann performs Saturday, April 26, at the at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $24.95 in advance, $30 day of show. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

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