Exclusive Jam Session with Jerrod Niemann

September 10, 2012 | By | Comments (8)

We met up with country artist Jerrod Niemann at the Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia, Mississippi, for a Southern Living Biscuits & Jam session. Here, he performs “Shinin’ On Me” off Free the Music, his new album out October 2.


Occupation: Singer/songwriter
Homebase: Nashville
First “Hit”: Age 8: “Amy’s But [sic] Looks Like a Hat,” about his sister
Motto: “Music…I keep it rural. Beer…I keep it plural.”


“I cut my teeth playing at the White Elephant Saloon in Fort Worth, where my parents live. You get on stage, and it’s just you and your guitar for four hours. If you mess up, it’s on you. If there’s hecklers or drunks—you learn to deal with everything. That was an important part of paying my dues.”

“You’ve gotta be somebody, so you might as well be yourself. I decided I’m gonna sing what I want, wear what I want, write what I want, and hope that if it comes from my heart then people will see that it’s real and gravitate toward it. And if they don’t…whoops!”

“I need to get to the Flora-Bama, near Gulf Shores, Alabama, for the Mullet Toss. I always thought everyone took all their hometown rednecks they hated the most and threw them. That’s what it’d be in my hometown.”

“When you dedicate your life to something, you should know where it came from. Growing up, I gravitated toward George Strait, Randy Travis, and Keith Whitley. But then you realize that your heroes have heroes, and you wanna figure out who they are. Those guys look up to [Merle] Haggard. And Haggard’s favorite is Lefty [Frizzell], and Lefty’s favorite was Ernest Tubb, and Ernest Tubb’s was Jimmie Rodgers.”

“I felt like it was our duty to learn with this new album. I put horns on the record because over 20 years before the pedal steel guitar, there were horns in country music. I wanted to honor every decade clear back to the 20s but keep our own spin on it.”

Jerrod Niemann

Jerrod Niemann at the Neshoba County Fair. Photo by Robbie Caponetto

“My perfect day in the South? Well, I would go down to Key West…and then I would lose the rest of my schedule. [laughs] ‘It blew into the ocean!'”

“Bless their heart” lets people say anything. I hear some really sweet people say it who think they’re being sweet and they’re not. How about a change? ‘Bless my liver! I drank a 12-pack last night.'”

“Anytime I start doing something questionable, I think, ‘Man, my mom would kill me.’ Guess I’d better hurry up and get this over with!”

“Dead. That’s how I take my barbecue. After spending so much time in Texas, I’ve become accustomed to brisket. But I really do love it all. Mustard-based sauces are my new thing.”

“If I could trade careers with anyone, it would be Oprah. I mean, nobody messes with Oprah. She’s probably the head of the FBI and CIA. I’m surprised she’s not already President.”

“The last thing I scribbled on a paper napkin? It was ‘Whiskey Kinda Way,’ the second song on our new album. I was going through this breakup, and my friend asked, ‘You miss her a lot?’ I said, ‘No. Except for when I’m drinking. I guess I just love her in a whiskey kinda way.’ And he’s like, ‘Man, we should write that!'”


  1. Hot List: Cheese, Concerts & Southern Comfort – The Daily South | Your Hub for Southern Culture

    […] Big & Rich, Grace Potters & the Nocturnals, and our most-recent Biscuits & Jam artist Jerrod Nieman are just a few of the 125 acts performing at the three-day […]

    October 1, 2012 at 9:56 am
  2. Quotable Country – 09/23/12 Edition | Country California

    […] Lefty [Frizzell], and Lefty’s favorite was Ernest Tubb, and Ernest Tubb’s was Jimmie Rodgers. ● – – Jerrod Niemann. Maybe Jason Aldean fans should hang out with him […]

    September 23, 2012 at 3:57 pm
  3. veletapoint1

    He seems like a really cool guy. Can’t wait to hear his new album. A friend showed me that Shinin’ On Me video as well and it got me into Jerrod.

    September 16, 2012 at 9:16 pm
  4. Adecmr

    Can’t wait for Free The Music!

    September 16, 2012 at 4:40 pm
  5. Julie Harris

    “Free The Music”, Oct. 2nd is gonna be awesome!!

    September 12, 2012 at 8:55 pm
  6. Doreena

    Awesome read! But than again I love anything Jerrod!

    September 10, 2012 at 5:36 pm
  7. Marie

    Tim McGraw just said Jerrod was his new Fav up-and-coming artist. Very cool interview! Thx SL!

    September 10, 2012 at 10:46 am
  8. Emma

    I looove Shinin’ On Me!! I’ve been obsessed with this song ever since I downloaded it for free off his Web site…I heard he’s been adding personal play lists to Spotify everyday since the 11th. Pretty cool idea 🙂

    September 10, 2012 at 9:55 am

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