Jameson Rodgers knows damn well that he’s damn lucky.
A 33-year-old singer songwriter who still refers to himself as ‘just a kid from Batesville, Mississippi,’ Rodgers spent more than ten years in Music City before hitting it big with his Gold-certified, No. 1 debut “Some Girls.” Despite this, Rodgers still sounds as if he can’t believe that he’s not only making it as a songwriter, but as a certified country music star.
“Every day, I shake my head and think, ‘how in the world do I get to do this for a living?’” Rodgers tells American Songwriter. “People from Batesville don’t get to do this kind of stuff. It’s going to be cool to see how far we can take this thing.”
It’s certainly understandable as to why Rodgers might be suffering from a state of shell shock these days, for his story isn’t the common one amongst a majority of country music artists. Rodgers was actually counting on pursing a baseball career, actually playing the sport until he was a junior in college. But once he realized that his baseball career wasn’t really taking off as he thought it would, he picked up a guitar.
And the rest is history.
“My friends knew me as the guy that would always be singing,” recalls Rodgers, who snagged his first songwriting cuts on songs such as Florida Georgia Lines “Talk You Out of It” and Chris Lane’s “I Don’t Know About You.” “If a song came on, I was definitely singing. But it took me forever to come out of my shy phase. I’m still, to an extent, pretty shy. But I started playing guitar and writing songs, and yeah, I was the guy sitting around the fire in college, taking requests. (Laughs.) Luckily, from there, I talked a roommate into moving to Nashville with me.”
That was in 2010. Fast forward six years, and Rodgers was writing and minding his songwriting business when he noticed a fellow ‘kid’ by the name of Luke Combs sending him a message on Instagram.
“This was long before Luke was Luke,” Rodgers chuckles. “Honest to God, I didn’t know who he was, but he had a blue check behind his name. (Laughs.) I’m pretty sure his (now) wife Nicole (Hocking) sent him my first EP (released in 2018.) I guess she had fell in love with those songs.”
And Combs wasn’t in the mood to beat around the bush. He wanted to write with Rodgers…immediately.
“And from there, songwriting together actually turned into a great friendship,” remembers Rodgers, who headed out with Combs on his Beer Never Broke My Heart Tour back in 2019. “He has done more favors for me in the last few years than I will ever be able to repay him for.”
Late last year, Rodgers and Combs took their friendship to a whole new level with the release of “Cold Beer Calling My Name,” an anthem of a bar song written back in 2017 by Rodgers alongside Hunter Phelps, Brett Tyler and Alysa Vanderheym.
“It’s funny how songs can be new to people, but they can seem so old to the writers,” Rodgers laughs. “Nashville is so weird. I can write a song today that might not be a hit until 2030. Jeffrey Steele once said that most of the songs he wrote took 5 or 6 years before they hit the radio, which is crazy to think about.”
The road to “Cold Beer Calling My Name” was far from a straight shot, with Rodgers recalling that the song took a good three sessions to complete.
“It’s a fun and up-tempo song, and if you ask me, they might be the hardest to write because its hard to not make them cheesy,” Rodgers says. “When I went in the studio to cut it, I had no intention of Luke (Combs) being on it, but then we were going on tour together and I thought it would be cool to have a feature on my first album and he had always been a great buddy to me. And, he likes drinking beer as much as I do, so it worked out.”
It certainly is working out for Rodgers, as he’s definitely upped his game on the country music radar as of late. And while his future tour schedule remains in limbo due to the ongoing pandemic, he isn’t one to get too down about it…or anything else.
“I think I get it from my parents, but from my dad especially,” Rodgers says about his generally positive demeanor about just about everything. “My dad just wakes up in the best mood ever, every single morning. I take after him.”
And yes, he knows darn well that music is now more important than ever.
“When it comes right down to it, you just want to put people in a good mood,” Rodgers concludes. “You want to make their day better. You want to make them laugh. You want to give them something to think about that isn’t about work or the world in general. That’s what I do all of this for.”