Jason Michael Carroll Talks New CD ‘Numbers,’ Fatherhood and His Family’s Golden Rule
Jason Michael Carroll's partnership with Cracker Barrel is a natural fit because the 'Where I'm From' singer began his career there as a singing server in Henderson, N.C. His new album 'Numbers' -- the first since he parted ways with Arista in 2010 -- is available at Cracker Barrels everywhere and features the song 'Numbers' as well as his most popular hit, 'Alyssa Lies.' He talked to Taste of Country about the new album, as well as his family and the rules the kids must heed to stay out of trouble in his house.
What song on your new album really has a special meaning to you?
There's a song on there called 'Ray of Hope' that … I wrote it with Josh Thompson. I remember coming up with this idea one day. I was at a fair and I just was going through some stuff with my family and it just -- a lot of people out there that feel like nobody knows what they're talking about, nobody ever experienced what they're going through. And as I'm sitting there thinking that way I started thinking, "That's not true because I know this person and they've gone through something like this or I know this person and I know that they know what I'm talking about." So I wrote 'Ray of Hope' for those people that feel there may be no one that feels like you do.
As they get older, do your kids influence your songwriting more?
Absolutely more. My kids are a huge impact on everything I do. And I think it's not only because of the stories and the things that I see them do that they give me, but the different types of music that they bring into the house. You'll pick out a little piece of this it's like, "Ooo, that's kind of cool."
Are you taking your wife and kids on any family vacations this year?
Yeah, we went to Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte, N.C. not long ago, and it was a great time. It's got an indoor water park there, and the kids had a blast. My youngest song J.W. is, we call him 'Granddaddy Jim' -- my dad's name is Jim. And my dad is the biggest hypochondriac you ever met. Well, my 5-year-old has adopted that same type of mentality. So we all go up and down these slides and we all come back and see my dad sitting there at the table, and as we round the corner even more we see Junior sitting right beside him. My 5-year-old, at a water park just sitting at a table, it was funny to us.
What artists outside of country are you listening to right now?
Man, I listen to everything. I've actually got Lady Gaga on my iPod, I've got Aerosmith always on my iPod. I'm a big fan of music in general. If it's out there, I wanna hear it, I wanna know it. Plain White T's is a band I've been listening to a lot lately.
Do you ever catch your kids bragging about what Daddy does for a living?
No, my kids don't really brag about what I do. It's kind of funny. The coolest thing for me, and I think for them too, is they didn't have to say my daddy sings country music. We'd be walking up and down the hallway and it wasn't, "Hey, there's Jason Michael Carroll." It was like, "Hey, hey Gavin's dad. Hey Savannah's dad." My kids would kind of snuggle up to my legs as kids would say that.
As a father, what scares you?
As a father everything scares me. I tell you what, my kids are great kids. They're amazing. I think they're gonna be super adults when they grow up. But you always worry about everything when you're a dad. I think that's part of being from the country, and I think why the connection with Cracker Barrel fits so well.
If I lived in the Jason Michael Carroll household, what's one rule we'd have to follow at all cost?
Respect. You have to respect each other. We actually got into it lately where if my kids, my wife and I feel, are disrespecting, then we usually make them write sentences. And the sentence is, "I will show tolerance and respect to my brother or sister."
Will you ever grow your long hair out again?
Yes, I will. I've realized through the last year and a half that I am not a short hair guy. I have to do too much too it, I can't do it.