For Jerrod Niemann’s new album Free the Music he decided to try something different. In addition to writing every song on the record, he used CLASP technology which allowed him to fuse old and new equipment during the recording process.
“I wrote every song on this new album Free the Music,” he told CBS Local. “This particular album we were taking a certain direction instrumentally so I had to write music in the direction of the instruments we were going to be using. It was definitely a tough task.”
A difficult process, Jerrod said whenever he hit a wall he would call up a friend to write with him.
“Sort of like when you can phone a friend. Doing that, you just know that they’re so talented and they can hopefully knock the pebble off and begin the avalanche of the creative process,” he said.
Jerrod says he enjoys writing songs by himself, and three of the tracks on the LP have just his songwriting credits.
“There are three songs on this album that I had the fortunate luck of writing by myself, but it took two years to write all of them, because it was a very meticulous process on this record,” he said. “At the end of the day I always love being able to pick up the phone and sit down and collaborate with a friend that I know can always get me where I need to go.”
Jerrod says what kicked off the thought process for his record was finding brand new technology called CLASP.
“What it allows you is to take the old analog reel to reel machines and it’s actually compatible with today’s technology and Pro Tools and what they use in the studio today,” he said. “My friend actually invented the science behind it and it’s amazing because you get to put the old analog tape machine in the signal process. So you record like normal but you get the fat thick analog sound that everybody used to love and use back in the day.”
“Of course horns and acoustic instruments have always complimented analog since they were born together. So for me it was important to find a way not only to utilize those instruments but also to try to find our own way of using them,” he said.
While horns have been such a big part of country music, even well before the pedal steel guitar, Jerrod said he was blown away to learn this fact in college.
“I think being able to be a producer, a songwriter, and an artist, it’s important to educate yourself and hopefully the other country music fans out there,” he said. “I’m not sure if our album will set any trends necessarily in an analog direction or horns. What I hope it will set is maybe certain thoughts. People [will] maybe dig a little deeper into the studio and realize the sky is the limit.”
“One thing about Nashville is we always respect our forefathers and sisters who built country music before us. At the end of the day it’s exciting to grab horns from Bob Wills, Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard and take that old technology but transform it into a new sound in our own way. Hopefully people will follow suit and at least open their mind. Something that makes them think outside the box.”
Jerrod’s album Free the Music and his newest single “Only God Could Love You More” are available now.
-Annie Reuter, CBS Local