Jake Owen Celebrates the Success of ‘American Country Love Song’
It has been a year since Jake Owen's "American Country Love Song" hit No. 1, but that didn't stop the singer from throwing a party.
On Tuesday (Sept. 5), the industry came together at Nashville's the Sutler Saloon to award Owen and "American Country Love Song" songwriters Ashley Gorley, Ross Copperman and Jaren Johnston plaques and medallions for their No. 1 hit.
Owen met with local media before the ceremony, sharing how he got his hands on his sixth No. 1 hit — the song was almost cut by Jason Aldean! As Owen recalls, Johnston sent him the demo of the song and Owen immediately wanted it for himself.
"I was in Modesto, Calif., on a day off, thinking about driving by Merle Haggard's place just to see his house and I got this list of these songs and I started listening to them," Owen tells Taste of Country. "They were all good songs like I usually hear from Jaren, and then I heard 'American Country Love Song.' At the time, I was making the American Love album [and] I thought, 'This song fits.' I played it 100 times over and over, fell in love with it, and then I called Jaren and said, 'I love this song, I gotta have it.' He said, 'Dude, great! It's yours.'"
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But it wasn't that easy. Aldean had heard the song, liked it and placed a hold on it — Johnston was unaware — but when the superstar went into the studio a few days later, he ran out of time and didn't get to cut "American Country Love Song." So Johnston pulled the song and asked Owen if he still wanted it. He did, but then things got messy.
"Aldean came back to cut [the song] again and it was a mess because we had given it away," Johnston recalls. "It was my bad. I pitched it even though it was on hold. If Aldean really wanted that song he would have cut it first."
Owen jumped to Johnston's defense, explaining that songwriters don't often know who their publishers are pitching their songs to. It's kind of like dating, he says.
"It's kind of like a girl who's really attractive that you see and you're like, 'I gotta get to know this girl.' Then you get her number and you call her and she's already dating Jason Aldean," he explains. "So, then you have to put all the game you have into stealing that girl away from Jason Aldean. I just want Jason Aldean to know that I got his girl."
"American Country Love Song" was featured on Owen's latest album, American Love, and he says the song was a perfect fit for where he was in life at the time. In the midst of a divorce, people thought Owen would be releasing a record of songs about love, loss and longing, but he was adamant about making a feel-good record. The end result was an uplifting album that proved to be the soundtrack for many country fans' summer 2016 road trips, and with a No. 1 song to boot.
Later, at the ceremony held by BMI to recognize the success of "American Country Love Song," Owen referred to the track as a career song — one that lights his audience up every night in concert.
"I think the best thing we can do as artists — outside of singing songs that are super personal — is to use the platform we have to provide positivity and good feelings to those out there who are looking for that," he shares. "This song felt that way."
After thanking his co-writers, label and team for always having his back as an artist, Owen humbly looked back on his own career, saying: "I couldn't be in a happier place than I am in my life right now. Thirteen years ago I moved to Nashville and my entire life has changed and it's been for the best. I look forward to many more years of doing this and calling this a job."
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