During the past 15 months of the pandemic, it’s been a tough time for everyone, including music artists who rely on touring and performing live to generate a large part of their income. However, a few artists have managed to break through during this period. One of those artists is Jameson Rodgers, who released his single “Some Girls” in June 2020, and he watched it move up the Billboard country charts and eventually reach number one.
Now in 2021, Rodgers has released his follow-up single “Cold Beer Calling My Name,” which features country star Luke Combs. This single has become his second chart hit, and appears headed for the Top 10. “Cold Beer Calling My Name” (which Rodgers wrote with Hunter Phelps, Brett Tyler & Alysa Vanderheym), is a fun, hooky song, and Rodgers has filmed a very entertaining video that also stars Combs.
“Cold Beer Calling My Name” and “Some Girls” are included on Rodgers’ excellent new EP called In It for the Money, which was released in late April via Columbia Nashville/River House Artists. Besides his two hits, this EP contains other highlights such as the title song “In It for the Money,” the unique, heartfelt ballad “Good Dogs,” and the rollicking uptempo cut, “Rolling Rock, Rolling Stones.”
Rodgers grew up in Mississippi, and after college he moved to Nashville to pursue his music goals. In 2014, he signed a publishing deal with Combustion Music, where he developed his artist career, while also co-writing songs for other artists.
As an artist, Rodgers released his first EP in 2016, and he released a second one in 2018, that included his hit, “Some Girls.” As a songwriter, he has impressively co-written two hits for other artists: the #1 hit “I Don’t Know About You” for Chris Lane, and the Top 10 hit “Talk You Out of It” for Florida Georgia Line. He has also co-written songs for Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean.
Here’s the video of Jameson Rodgers’ hit “Cold Beer Calling
My Name”(feat. Luke Combs).
As a live performer, Rodgers made a strong impact in 2019, when he was the opening act for Luke Combs Beer Never Broke My Heart arena tour. Now in 2021, he is playing shows at festivals and fairs this summer, and he’ll be launching his headline tour this fall.
We are pleased to do this new Q&A interview with Jameson Rodgers. He talks about his hits “Cold Beer Calling My Name” and “Some Girls,” his EP In It for the Money, and his songwriting.
DK: I read that you’re from a small city called Batesville in Mississippi. How did you get started with music and writing songs?
Jameson Rodgers: It’s funny…I was a late bloomer with music and writing songs. I always loved to sing when I was growing up, but I never took the time to pick up the guitar until I was 20. I played baseball through junior college, and when that came to an end, I went down to Southern Miss University to finish school. I had a roommate there who did spoken word poetry, and I had another roommate that played good guitar. So I learned how to write lyrics from one and learn how to play guitar from the other (laughs). And here we are…I moved to Nashville in 2010.
DK: In 2014, you signed a publishing deal with Combustion Music. What were your first four years like in Nashville, before you landed a publishing deal?
Rodgers: It was a lean four years (laughs). I worked a lot of part-time jobs, and whatever I could do to make money. I was trying to get to a publishing deal. I would work part-time hours, and then write songs the other half of the day. Back then, I went out to songwriting nights, open mic nights, and I met as many writers as I could. And a lot of them are still my friends today that I write with.
Back then, you get lucky enough to get all these meetings with publishers, and you’re always nervous about meeting them. My publisher at Combustion Music actually found me on ReverbNation of all places. So it was pretty random, but I’m glad it happened.
DK: When you signed with Combustion, did they view you as an artist who they wanted to help develop? Or did they want you to write songs for other artists?
Here’s the video of Jameson Rodgers’ hit, “Some Girls.”
Rodgers: I think it was a little bit of both. When I signed there, it was like I went into a songwriting bootcamp. I put my head down for a year or two and wrote songs every day. I didn’t really focus on the artist stuff. I put that aside and dove in and got in a lot of rooms with better writers who had much more success than I had at the time. So I put my head down and after a year-and-a-half, we took four of my favorite songs and put them out on my first EP, like “Midnight Daydream” and “That’s Why the River Runs.”
DK: Can you talk about your first EP in 2016, and then your second EP in 2018?
Rodgers: On the first EP, it was from my first two years of my publishing deal. We picked our four favorite songs and we were like, “Alright, let’s see if this artist stuff has any juice behind it.” So we put it out, and it had more steam than I thought it would have. So it was a nice surprise—it was exciting. I led me to another step where where you say, “It’s time to put out another EP.” By then, I had another couple years of writing under my belt, and (the hit) “Some Girls” was a song that I didn’t even write. You know, when you’re coming up through those years, you’re coming up with other writers. Me and (hit artist/writer) Hardy came up together, and (hit songwriters) Hunter Phelps and Jordan Davis and all those guys. We were grinding it through the trenches over the years, and we would share demos with each other. And “Some Girls” was a demo that Hardy, Jake Mitchell and C.J. Solar had shared with me. I’d heard it at a hang one night, and I had the demo on my phone for a year before I recorded it. I always told those guys, “Man, if nobody cuts this song and I have anything going on one day, I’d love to have it.” So here we are.
DK: Since your second EP had “Some Girls” on it, is that when you were offered a label deal with Sony & River House?
Rodgers: Yeah, I think it was a combination of that. That EP had some momentum, and my buddy Luke Combs had asked me to go on a tour with him through all of 2019. And it seemed like the labels in town liked the music—they just needed one more thing to tip them over the edge, to sign me. So [opening for] Luke Combs on his arena was a nice thing to have in my back pocket (laughs) with labels. That was probably the tipping point.
Here’s the video of Jameson Rodgers’ song, “Good Dogs.”
DK: How did you meet Luke Combs and connect with him?
Rodgers: It’s a funny story. Luke’s girlfriend, who is now his wife, had my EP and sent it to Luke. She said, “You should check out this guy.” At the time, I hadn’t met her or Luke. This was before he had a hit. He actually sent me a message on my Instagram, and he was like, “Hey man, I’m a huge fan of the song ‘Midnight Daydream’—we should write some time.” Like I said, I didn’t know who he was, so I asked some buddies, “Have you heard of Luke Combs? He hit me up to want to write.” And they said, “Yeah, you should definitely do that. He’s got a big underground following; he’s about to pop.” So we ended up getting together, and we didn’t even finish a song. But we hit it off pretty well…we knew we had a lot of things in common. And so we stayed in touch the next year or two. Then I put out my second EP, and he hit me up again. He said, “Man, this EP is great. I want to take you out on tour next year.” So it was really cool.
DK: How did you and Luke team up on your hit, “Cold Beer Calling My Name?”
Rodgers: When I wrote it, I didn’t plan on it being a duet or feature. It was just a fun song that I was gonna record. But when I went in the studio and we had the music down on the track, it was around that time that Luke hit me up to go on tour. And I was like, “Man, it’d be cool if I had a feature my first record or EP, and I’m gonna be around Luke for the next 12 months. Why don’t I just ask him to sing on it?” Honestly, I expected him to say no, because he’s not featured on a lot of things. So I was surprised when he hit me back and said, “Let’s do it.” So he’s definitely done me a few favors (laughs). I’ll never be able to repay him for that.
DK: On your new EP, In it For The Money, I like your song “Good Dogs,” which is a heartfelt song about having a special dog who’s passed away. Can you tell me the story behind writing “Good Dogs”?
Rodgers: I wrote it with Hunter Phelps, Brent Anderson and Jake Mitchell. Every January I rent a cabin, that’s about 90 minutes east of Nashville. When we go, it’s always the first week of January. It’s the first week of writing after Christmas break, so everybody’s always fired up to write, and everybody has a bunch of ideas. Then we get up there and camp out for a week, and write two or three songs a day.
Here’s the video of Chris Lane’s hit “I Don’t Know About You,”
which was co-written by Jameson Rodgers.
“Good Dogs” came from one of our cabin trips. Hunter had gotten a dog the previous year and he came in with that title. He was like, “Man, I have this idea called ‘Good Dogs’, but I don’t know exactly how to do it.” And we were like, “How do we not make this the saddest song in the world?” (laughs). I think I threw out the lines about “Good trucks, they’ll run forever” and “A good woman holds you together” in the chorus. That would help bring it to life a little bit. It was fun writing it, but it was also tough writing it. We’d have to take a break every 30 minutes and just go shed a tear on the porch (laughs), thinking about the dogs I’ve had growing up. Dogs are like family members…it’s tough to lose ‘em.
DK: Besides writing for yourself as an artist, you’ve also written a couple hits for other artists: “I Don’t Know About You” for Chris Lane and “Talk You Out Of It” for Florida Georgia Line. Can you talk about your writing for other artists?
Rodgers: It was a dream of mine when I moved to town, to have songs on the radio that I wrote. It’s such a weird thing having success as an artist now, after I’ve had success as a songwriter. It’s two totally different things. To write a song—to have an artist hear it and like it enough to record it, and then record it well enough to make it a single contender. And for it actually to be a single and go all the way to number one, so many stars have to align. Anytime you have a song recorded by somebody, it’s a blessing. So I love to write songs, whether it’s for me or for somebody else…it’s just a passion of mine. Even if [my artist career] went away, I’d still write songs forever.
DK: Do you still have time to write songs for other artists?
Rodgers: It’s changed over the last year. Since I’ve had success as an artist, it’s harder to let songs go (laughs). You want to hold on to every song. But I’m trying to find that balance, of letting a song go that maybe isn’t the right fit for me. The songs you mentioned earlier—the Chris Lane song (“I Don’t Know About You”) and the Florida Georgia Line song (“Talk You Out Of It”)—those were written a couple years before I had a record deal. So at the time, it was super easy to let those songs go. But now it’s tough, because I’m having some success as an artist, and I know how rare [good songs] are and how busy I am, so I might not have as much time to write. So I’m trying to find that balance right now—how much can I write…what songs to keep and what songs to let go.
Here’s the video of Florida Georgia Line’s hit “Talk You Out Of
It,” which was co-written by Jameson Rodgers.
DK: I read that you’re playing live shows again this summer, and you’ll be on tour this fall. Can you tell me about your touring?
Rodgers: As you know, the curtain got dropped on us last March (2020) when Covid hit. But I have played live the last three or four weekends, and it’s absolutely brought me back to life. It’s so good to be back with the band and playing live music. It’s truly recharged me.
We’re playing a ton of shows this summer—a bunch of fairs and festivals. Then this fall I’ll be doing my headlining tour which is gonna be a blast. I absolutely cannot wait. You know, I’ve only played a handful of shows since I’ve had a number one song (“Some Girls”). [It’s strange that] I had a number one song during the pandemic. It’s not exactly how you draw it up (laughs), but it’s definitely a cool thing now to get onstage with a number one song (laughs).