Jordan Rager Talks New Single ‘Southern Boy,’ Jason Aldean’s Influence
The inspiration behind Jordan Rager's new single "Southern Boy" runs deep. Written by Jeremy Stover, Luke Laird and Barry Dean, "Southern Boy" pays tribute to Chattanooga teen Cameron Scroggins, who died of cancer at 16.
"The first time I heard the song and didn't know the back story, I thought of me and my buddies back home," Rager tells Taste of Country. "It sounded like me and my friends riding around Friday nights trying to pick up girls in trucks. Then when [I learned] the back story of it I was like, 'That's a story people need to hear.'"
Stover told Rager that he was inspired to write the song after meeting Scroggins, who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 15. The teenager was never down on himself and never lost his smile. As Stover explained to Rager, Scroggins was "always upbeat and positive."
"He was a regular kid who just happened to get sick. That's what the song was inspired by. It was a song that had to be heard by people and I'm just honored to get to be the one that gets to do it every night," Rager says.
Rager adds that it didn't hit him how personal the song was until he met Scroggins' mother at a show. She shook his hand and gave him a hug, thanking him for the tribute to her son.
"Southern Boy" features Jason Aldean, and Rager says he looked up to his fellow Georgia native while he got his own start in the Georgia music scene.
"Having him on a song is a real dream come true. He's grown into this big brother to me," Rager explains. "I've never done a radio tour before or CRS before and Jason became that veteran presence I could go to. I could text him and be like, 'Hey man, I have a question. Give me a call when you have a chance.' He's really been a great influence to me on the music side of it, but he's been a big influence on the personal standpoint, too. It's been really good to have his support and his ears."
Rager is currently working on his major label debut album. He says he is about 90 percent done and has 10 songs finished. Now, it's a matter of finding "the best stuff."
"I try to put a lot of honest emotion in everything that I do music-wise. Especially as a songwriter, I'm honest. I write about me. A lot of things that I can't say and can't get out I put on paper and I sing," he explains. "There's one song called 'Underage' and it's as true a story as it comes. It's me and my buddies and all the stupid stuff we used to do growing up in my hometown. I've had a lot of people walk up to me and go, 'That song, I felt something when you played that and it sounded like me when I was growing up.'"
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