Country singer/songwriter Jake Owen will perform Thursday evening, Aug. 2, at the Washington Town and Country Fair, taking the main stage at 8:30 p.m.
Earlier this month Owen spoke to The Missourian’s Currents online arts and entertainment editor Ethan Busse in a phone interview. Following are the highlights of that interview.
Q: We wanted to have a preshow chat with you before you come to play our Washington Town and Country Fair in August. People around here are pretty pumped.
A: Yeah, I’m looking forward to it. Should be a good time.
Q: I heard you guys have some big news. You got married in May and are expecting a baby girl in November?
A: Yes, we just found out . . . the past year for me has been pretty much a big whirlwind, but amazing, man, like I thought my life couldn’t get any better and every day it gets that much better. It’s pretty awesome.
Q: To talk about your career and music, I know you taught yourself guitar after an injury and you had to call off your golf career, right?
A: Yeah, I went to college to hopefully, you know, maybe play on the golf team there, and when I had my little accident wakeboarding and shoulder surgery I had to put the golf clubs down for like a year and it kinda sidetracked my whole college plans, and during that time I just picked up the guitar and started playing.
My dad said I needed to get a job, so I figured I could make 50 bucks a night playing guitar on a stool and get a little free beer out of it, so that seemed like the perfect job for me.
Q: Can you tell me about the progression of playing at the college bars to where you are today?
A: You know, I feel like I’m still the same person . . . I’ve always said I’m always trying to gain a couple more fans every day, just add more and more people to the party, make the party a little bit bigger.
I still feel like I’m the same guy who played in college, except now I’m playing a little bigger venues all around the country. I still feel like I’m the same guy though.
Q: That’s good, man. So the fame hasn’t changed the quality coming out of you.
A: Nah, I hope not.
Q: You write your own music, mostly, right?
A: Yeah, my first two records I pretty much wrote everything, and this new album, “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” I really sat back and picked a lot of great songs from great songwriters in Nashville.
Q: Have you been caught off guard by what songs seem to fire up the charts once those albums are released?
A: Not necessarily. For me, it just took a lot of years of hard work of knocking on doors until people finally started opening them.
I’ve had some great songs in the past that just, I think because I was a new artist not a lot of people knew who I was, they didn’t seem to connect as well.
But it’s pretty awesome now. Once things start rolling, and I had my first No. 1 with “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” how you start becoming more and more accepted to where it’s not as much of a grind anymore to get your songs played on the radio. You’re not having to beg because you’ve already somewhat proved yourself with a big hit.
Q: How about some new music in the works?
A: I’m actually working on my fourth record right now, and I’m also doing a little summer EP full of songs that are kinda wrapped around summertime.
I’m big into water sports, and wakeboarding and things like that, and I thought it would be cool to do a little iTunes kinda thing where we do four songs and they’re all wrapped around a summertime sorta feel.
It’s going to be called the Endless Summer EP. We’re going to put that out in the next couple of months.
Q: I’ve got some reader questions. We let our readers know that we were going to be talking to you.
One asked, how has touring with Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw impacted you?
A: Oh, it’s been, in around about way, man, it’s been kinda like, without sounding too cliché, like a dream come true because I’m still a fan of music the same way I was growing up. And the fact that I get to go out there and play with these guys every night, the same guys that I used to go to their concerts as a fan, you know, sitting in the crowd, now I’m like buddies with these guys and getting to share a stage with ’em.
The best way I can explain it, like I said, is almost like a complete dream. It’s just come full circle, and I’m just very lucky to be able to do what I’m doing.
But I’ve also learned a lot from those guys, too, and they’ve kinda shown me the way as far as that this sort of thing is possible, to fill stadiums full of people listening to country music, that’s very possible. Kenny and Tim are doing it every night.
I’m hopefully looking forward to the day where I continue to build my career to do the same.
Q: Another reader asked, do you have a name for your favorite guitar?
A: No, I don’t have a name for my favorite guitar. I’ve never named my guitars. I guess maybe I should.
Q: Do you have a favorite venue?
A: There are certain areas of the country I really enjoy playing. I mean, I love playing out west, on the west coast. I just love the change of scenery, from me growing up in Florida, it’s a really big deal to me to be able to travel and take a lot of these different cities in.
But I do love the west coast. Chicago’s been really good to me.
I don’t necessarily have an absolute favorite place.
I like going home. That’s a favorite place of mine. Going back to Florida and playing for all of my family and friends.
Q: Another person asked, what is the strangest thing that you have been asked to autograph and did you autograph it?
A: Hah! Yeah, I’ve been asked to sign some rather strange things, so let’s just say, yeah, I did sign it.
Q: One person, knowing that you had been a golf pro asked what was your best score in nine holes of golf or 18 and any holes in one?
A: Actually, believe it or not, I’ve never had a hole in one. I’ve had two double eagles in my life, but never a hole in one.
My lowest tournament score, full 18-hole tournament score was 64.
Q: Someone else asked what is your favorite professional sport or favorite team or athlete?
A: I enjoy watching golf. I like watching Tiger Woods. I love football. I’m a huge football fan. I love college football. I went to Florida State, so I’m a big Florida State Seminole.
Q: Yeah, that was another question, if the Seminoles are you favorite college team.
This is a strange question and this one came from one of my very odd friends, but he wanted to know if you’ve ever played Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming.
A: I have.
Q: What was your impression?
A: I thought it was awesome. I mean, like I said, anytime I get to play anywhere I’m pretty lucky to call that my job.
These festivals, especially the ones that are all over the country, a lot like the Cheyenne Frontier Days, they’re a lot of fun. It’s a totally different scenery. You get a mountain backdrop as opposed to where I might have played the week before in Florida or something where we’re at sea level.
So I always look at new places to play as huge opportunities for me to not only get my music out there but to take in the awesome, amazing country that we live in.
It’s pretty awesome to have a job that takes you from town to town. I’m able to learn by travel.
Q: Well, Jake. I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.
A: I appreciate you talking to me.