Jordan Rowe once said in a press statement that his favorite bible verse is Proverbs 16:9, which says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” “I pray every day for the right doors to open and the wrong ones to close, and I just walk through the right ones,” Rowe tells Sounds Like Nashville. This verse and sentiment shared held true in the culmination of the country newcomer’s long-awaited debut album, Bad Case of the Good Ole Boy.
On this eight-song set, Rowe proudly melds his 90’s country influences with a modern country production to deliver hit-ready tracks from cover to cover. Think Alan Jackson meets Luke Bryan, and you’ll have Rowe’s music.
Signed to River House Artists (Luke Combs, Jameson Rodgers, Ray Fulcher) and Ashley Gorley’s Tape Room Music, Rowe proves himself as a “songwriter at heart” by co-writing every track alongside high-cred Nashville hitmakers such as Drew Parker, Jordan Walker and Lance Miller. The LP also boasts three musical collaborations: two songs with fellow newcomers Ashland Craft (“Who Needs You”) and Lainey Wilson (“Mama” Ain’t Jesus”), and a dream-come-true one with esteemed icons Tracy Lawrence, Eddie Montgomery (of Montgomery Gentry) and Rhett Akins (“10-4”).
The small-town country lifestyle is the throughline of Rowe’s music. Whether it’s on the rollicking title track, “10-4” or the infectious “Can’t In A Car”—which he delivers with quip and humor—the South Georgia native is proud of every experience he’s had in his hometown.
Elsewhere on the album, listeners also get a glimpse of Rowe’s vulnerability as he wears his heart on his sleeve with unrestrained honesty. Standout track “Had A Ball” is a poignant country piano ballad that finds the singer wistfully reminiscing on some good ol’ bittersweet memories of his younger days at home, while “Mama Ain’t Jesus” is a tear-jerking ode to his selfless mother. As Rowe and Wilson sing emotionally in the hook: “Mama ain’t Jesus, she’s a close second.”
Collectively, Bad Case of the Good Ole Boy is an impressive offering for a relatively new singer/songwriter in the format. Rowe intentionally threads a needle that flawlessly weaves together honest storytelling with commercially appealing sonic textures—which, perhaps, is the winning formula to set him up for stardom sooner than later.
In conjunction with this release, Rowe spoke with Sounds Like Nashville for an exclusive Q&A about his debut album. Check it out below!
SLN: What made you go with the anthemic “Bad Case of the Good Ole Boy” as the album title?
JR: That title was actually born from a line in “10-4” – “If you think I got a bad case of good ole boy, you damn right buddy that’s a big 10-4.” I think that title encompasses the whole album and my personality really well.
You co-wrote every track on your debut record. Was this something you decided on right from the get-go—to have a hand in writing each song on your first project?
I’m a songwriter at heart, but it just happened that way. I’m a believer in letting the best song win, so I’m always open to cutting outside songs. But, when you’re an artist that’s just getting started, you don’t get pitched many great songs.
Where do you draw most of your songwriting inspiration from? Songs like the infectious “Can’t In A Car” sound like it’s a page taken from your own life.
I draw inspiration from everything. Personal experiences of course, but also overheard conversations, books, television, etc. I’m always paying attention and looking for the next song idea to put down in my notes.
“Mama Ain’t Jesus” is such a beautiful, heartfelt country ballad. You co-wrote this with Lainey Wilson, and she also sang on the final cut with you. What was your mom’s reaction when she first heard it?
That’s one of my favorites! She definitely cried, as did I a little. I pulled her up on stage to meet the crowd before I sang it when I was opening a show for Cody Johnson this summer.
The final track on the album, “10-4,” is such a feel-good one! And it’s a star-studded collaboration too, with Tracy Lawrence, Eddie Montgomery and Rhett Akins singing on it. How did all of that happen, right out the gate on your first full-length release?
That was the effect of a lot of great teamwork and prayer. I made the call to Rhett myself because I already knew him but he was the only one. I got a hold of the other two through management and producers and the Good Lord opened those doors right up for us. I pray every day for the right doors to open and the wrong ones to close, and I just walk through the right ones.
Lastly, what’s one thing you hope listeners take away from listening to your debut album, Jordan?
I hope they know that I’m doing my best to write and sing great country music like we all grew up on.
Stream Jordan Rowe’s debut album Bad Case of the Good Ole Boy below.