Jordan Rager Makes Opry Debut, Performs ‘Southern Boy’ [Watch]
The 22-year-old Georgia native is a fast-rising star in county music. He has already drawn accolades from various press outlets, as well as Broken Bow labelmate Jason Aldean, Randy Houser and Justin Moore. He's toured with the latter two, and his debut single, "Southern Boy," features a guest appearance from fellow Georgia boy Aldean. The song recently reached the Top 40 at country radio, and Rager is currently working with producer Jeremy Stover on his debut album.
Rager debuted on the Opry on April 9, offering up live performances of "Southern Boy" and another song titled "We Still Do." In the clip above, he shares the path that brought him to country music's most hallowed stage at such a young age.
The rising country singer first fell in love with country music after hearing Alan Jackson sing "Here in the Real World," and got his first guitar when he was 14. "I struggled to learn how to play it, because I had the attention span of a squirrel at the time," he shares.
His father gave him an incentive to learn by giving Rager a choice between practicing guitar or doing chores. That was the motivation he needed, and he wrote his first original songs when he was 15 or 16. He built a substantial fan base online by covering contemporary hits by some of the biggest artists in country music on YouTube, which led to his deal with Broken Bow.
Rager's Opry debut was a family affair. His father — who used to go out of his way on road trips to drive by the building and tell Rager's brothers, "One day your brother will be playing there" — was on hand, and his uncle, who plays full-time with Opry legend Connie Smith, sat in on drums.
"A lot of people have talent," Rager's father says. "A lot of people have dreams. Very few get to do what what he's getting to do tonight, and he's only 22."
Rager turns in a standout, polished and completely professional performance in the clip above, and afterward he's still trying to comprehend what's just happened.
"It's unreal," he says. "I don't even feel like I fully appreciate what I just did. I'm jittery and stuttering, because I'm so excited. That was so crazy. It was awesome. A lifelong dream just came true."
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