It’s a wild musical exploration when Jerrod Niemann gets behind the controls. Blurring genres and leaping boundaries, Jerrod is set to release his sophomore album, Free The Music, on October 2. As the follow-up to his 2010 breakthrough, Judge Jerrod & the Hung Jury, the new 12-song collection takes its title seriously with an envelope-pushing brand of country that mixes up a concoction of sound that includes honky tonk, pop, psychedelia and reggae – all with a 3-piece horn section.
Jerrod seems to delight in keeping the listener off balance. On Free The Music, arrangements burst with creativity, as songs like “Shinin’ On Me” and “Honky Tonk Fever” constantly shift underneath his voice. The former, which serves as the project’s lead single, subtly focuses on different instruments as dobro, organ and horns take turns supporting Jerrod’s easygoing and sunny delivery. The standout track “Honky Tonk Fever,” which plays like a long lost psychedelic country session from The Beatles, uses an unorthodox mix of tempos and ascending/descending guitars to assert its own independence. I could lose a day or two with the hippies out West or the Cajuns in the bayou, he sings before a New Orleans jam takes the song on home.