His new covers album What Is It Even? pays tribute to his favorite female singers and songwriters of all time, from Beyoncé and Dolly Parton to the late, great Whitney Houston and Sinéad O’Connor, all of whom have greatly influenced his music and career.
He says this record was made for fun and “just because I felt like it,” adding that each song was chosen because the songwriting, performance or production has heavily influenced his taste:
“The songs chosen were written and/or performed by artists that have heavily influenced me over the years. Whether it’s the songwriting, performance, or production I have always been drawn to female artists, especially female pop artists.
I owe my vocal range to my adolescent attempts at singing radio hits at the top of my lungs when no one was listening.
I appreciate the art of a good hook because of the ear worms recorded by these artists, and the confidence they exude has influenced me as a person beyond music.”
I just love it when country music is allowed to be fun…
“I really wanted to make something just because I felt like it. Because it’s fun. Because I can. That’s what ‘What Is It Even?’ is all about!
We had a great time making the record, so I hope you have a great time listening. Thank you for supporting me and making it possible for me to pursue music.”
There’s some awesome stuff on here, too, from his incredibly innovative bluegrass rendition of Beyoncé’s “Halo,” to a fresh take on Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and even a cover of Mrs. Dolly Parton’s “Joshua.”
Of course, we’re used to the Texas native intertwining humor and incredibly deep, thoughtful lyrics about personal life experiences and even made up stories into his music, but I love the whole concept and meaning behind What Is It Even?
Every country artist you can think of has been influenced by a wide array of artists, genres and sounds, so for him to hone in on these iconic ladies and how they specifically inspired him over the years is really special and quite unique.
And not only that, he did it so authentically and true to who he is, which comes thorough very obviously in the music, and I love how he put his own spin on most of them while still being respectful of the timeless originals.
Definitely do yourself a favor and give ’em a listen…