“This is exactly the record I want to put out. I don’t know what’s going to happen with it, but I can
at least tell you that the one certainty I do have about this record, is I’m proud of it.” – Jordan Davis
To bring Jordan Davis to that admission has been a life’s journey. In stepping back with country
music’s biggest stars to emerge in recent years of his latest album Bluebird Days, he tells not only the
magic of a song like CMA Song of the Year “Buy Dirt,” but of the evolution of Jordan Davis the
person, the songwriter, and the artist.
Sometimes, a popular song becomes more than just a hit—it turns into a phenomenon. And that’s
what happened with “Buy Dirt,” Davis’ 2021 duet with Luke Bryan. It reached Number One on the Hot
Country Songs chart and was one of the Top Five most streamed country songs in both 2021 and
2022. That kind of success brings expectations, but—as Davis discovered when he set to work on his
follow-up album Bluebird Days—it can also lead to a new sense of possibility.
“There’s pressure, definitely,” he says. “It’s not about trying to recreate ‘Buy Dirt,’ but we can
approach songs like we approached that one, and that’s to write something that people are going to
feel, and not just hear.”
“I’ve settled into a really good headspace in writing songs, which is rooted in being honest—about
past things that I’ve gone through, good or bad, and about some things that have kind of scared me
about the future. So, the best thing for me is that ‘Buy Dirt’ opened up a whole other lane of songs
that I think people can really connect with.”
With Bluebird Days (Davis’ second full-length album, following 2018’s Home State, which included the
Platinum-selling No. 1 hits “Singles You Up,” “Take It from Me,” and “Slow Dance in a Parking Lot;”
he’s also released two EPs), the Shreveport, Louisiana-born singer-songwriter digs deep into his own
experiences for a collection that offers a wide range of emotions, meditations, and memories,
matched by his signature sound, blending traditional and contemporary genres and styles. With a
young family and a career that’s rapidly on the rise, he was still surprised to see the depth that this
material was reaching.
“As you start writing for a record, you’re kind of stockpiling songs and at some point, you go back and
take inventory,” he says. “As I started looking back on the songs I’d written, I was like, ‘Wow, I really
wrote about that’ or ‘I showed that side that I never had.’ There’s a song called ‘Short Fuse’ that’s
about a temper that I have. A lot of people don’t see that, and unfortunately, the people that do see it
are the people I’m closest to, and it’s a song about me trying to change that.”
The title track examines his life as a child of divorced parents. While initially nervous to put the song
on the record, he reflects that ultimately, “I know a lot of people are going to connect with that and go,
‘Man, I feel the exact same way.’”
He points to “Fishing Spot” as an especially personal moment on Bluebird Days. “I bought a fishing
boat—that was, like, the biggest purchase I’ve made,” he says. “It’s very unassuming, it’s nothing
special at all. But I fell in love with fishing because of my grandfather. And I remember that first day
thinking, ‘This is cool, man—I got this boat, and one day me and my son and my daughter can come
fish,’ and then an overwhelming sadness came over me.”
“I think it’s just that it was kind of a pipe dream,” he continues. “We didn’t grow up with a ton of
money, so the idea of having a boat and being able to go out and do whatever at this point in my life
was just kind of crazy. I did a lot of talking to my grandfather out there that day, and that’s definitely
one song that comes from a very real place.”
For the first time, Davis included two songs that he didn’t have a hand in writing—although, with
“Money Isn’t Real,” it wasn’t for lack of effort. “I’d been trying to write a song called ‘When the Money
Runs Out,’” he says. “I’d started it, thrown it away, restarted, and it was terrible. But I wanted to touch
on how my relationship with money was not good. I truly thought that the more that I had, the less
problems I would have, and that’s not true at all. It can make things easier, but it is not a problem
solver. And the way these writers did it was brilliant, exactly what I was trying to say.”
Davis thinks it’s no accident that he recorded this album almost exactly ten years after he moved to
Nashville to take his shot at a music career, with all the reflection that anniversary stirred up. “I was
working a bartending gig that I really wasn’t super happy about,” he says, “but it was keeping me in
Nashville so that I could wake up at eight o’clock—after getting home at 1:30—go write a song for five
hours and then go right back to the bar and wash, rinse, repeat. If I were to go back and tell that guy,
‘Hey, man, in ten years, you’re gonna have a pretty successful touring schedule, you’re gonna have
four or five Number Ones, and you’re gonna have a CMA Song of the Year that you co-wrote with
your brother?’ I would just say ‘Thanks for the optimism, I appreciate it, but that’s not happening—
“So, I look back and think about how fortunate I’ve been to meet the people I’ve met, to get to write
songs with the people I get to write songs with. Every once in a while, you need a ball to bounce your
way, and I was blessed to get some of those bounces.”
As serious as some of the themes on Bluebird Days are, this sense of joy also shines through on
songs like “Damn Good Time” and “One Beer in Front of the Other.” Davis notes that “Tucson Too
Late” is probably the most traditional country song he’s ever recorded (“There’s not many songs I’ve
put out narrating somebody else’s story”), comparing it to Keith Whitley’s classic “Miami, My Amy.” He
credits the album’s daring, exciting sonics to producer Paul DiGiovanni—”I truly let Paul run wild; he’s
the best in town. I trust him and that belief hasn’t let us down yet.”
To Davis, there was one overarching ambition for the project. “The big thing for me was to show my
growth,” he says. “Growth in shows, growth in the songwriting, growth in the topics we’re touching on.
I really wanted to show how I’ve changed as an artist and a songwriter, for the better, than on my first
album.” And he credits much of that determination to the example of artists with whom he’s been
fortunate enough to work and tour.
“Luke Bryan, Kane Brown, Luke Combs—those guys know exactly what they do, who they want to
be, what they want to say,” he says. “You don’t have a career like Luke Bryan’s without saying, ‘Hey,
this is me, this is what I do.’ That’s what I take away from those guys, to be confident in who you are
and what you do.”
Davis draws on that confidence to take a major step forward, allowing all the ways he’s challenged
himself to give him a greater sense of certainty and conviction. “There are a lot of things I can’t
control,” he says, “but I can control the records I make, and I want to know that I did everything
possible to make the best music I could. So far, I feel sure that I’ve done that.”
Now with Bluebird Days, Davis can undoubtedly say, “This is exactly the record I want to put out. I
don’t know what’s going to happen with it, but I can at least tell you that the one certainty I do have
about this record, is I’m proud of it.”
Newcomer Josh Ross has had a helluva 2023 with signing with UMG Nashville, releasing new songs, hitting the road with Nickelback, Bailey Zimmerman and many other shows. Since he’s been touring so much this year, he’s barely spent any time at home with his family back in Canada, so he’s looking forward to having several days with his family.
“This year’s been a really exciting year with touring and releasing new music and being on the road,” says Josh. “I haven’t really got to spend a lot of days at home especially in a row, so I get to go home home, which will be Ontario, Canada, and spend time with Mom, Dad, grandparents, brother and sisters and nieces and nephews and just kind of catch up on all of the things that I kind of got to miss this year. Luckily, I have Facetime and stuff like that, but actually being there with them is going to be great.”
Josh says one of the main things that would get him in the Christmas spirit growing up was cutting down the family Christmas tree. “The thing for me that would always solidify that Christmas is happening is we’d go and cut a tree down,” he says. “So, my mom, dad, myself and we used to take the dog that I had as a child, we’d all go out and cut a tree down, and that’s just like a Canadian thing. I think here we import the Northern trees, so the ornaments stay on them, but up there that’s what we got to do, so that’s something I’ll always remember as a kid year after year would get me in the spirit.”
One year, he was all into asking Santa for a PlayStation 2, but the fact was, he was never truly into playing video games, but he’d rather be playing outdoors. “All my friends had video games, and I was never very, very big into video games,” he says. “I was more like the go outside and play type, and honestly, this is really what speaks to me as a person now with different things in life, but I really wanted a PlayStation 2 and I remember like that was the big thing that I wanted. And I got a PlayStation 2, and I bet you I only played it for like a couple of weeks and then I was back to outside playing, and really just wasn’t super interested in it. I think that kind of still speaks to me today is I’d much rather be in the outdoors and not necessarily in front of a screen.”
Josh will kick off his headlining trek, The Trouble Tour, on January 12th in Winnipeg, Canada and will continue throughout the year, interspersed between dates on the Bailey Zimmerman Religiously The Tour.
Josh Ross (Christmas 2023) OC: …to be great. :23
“This year’s been a really exciting year with touring and releasing new music and being on the road. I haven’t really got to spend a lot of days at home especially in a row, so I get to go home home, which will be Ontario, Canada, and spend time with Mom, Dad, grandparents, brother and sisters and nieces and nephews and just kind of catch up on all of the things that I kind of got to miss this year. Luckily, I have Facetime and stuff like that, but actually being there with them is going to be great.”
Josh Ross (Christmas spirit) OC: …in the spirit. :35
“My mom would definitely always be playing Christmas music. She loved Christmas music, so that’s always playing when she’s decorating and things like that. I’m excited to go back and listen to her songs on repeat (laughs), but the thing for me that would always solidify that Christmas is happening is we’d go and cut a tree down. So, my mom, dad, myself and we used to take the dog that I had as a child, we’d all go out and cut a tree down, and that’s just like a Canadian thing. I think here we import the Northern trees, so the ornaments stay on them, but up there that’s what we got to do, so that’s something I’ll always remember as a kid year after year would get me in the spirit.”
Josh Ross (Christmas present) OC: …front of a screen. :32
“All my friends had video games, and I was never very, very big into video games. I wasn’t really allowed. I was more like the go outside and play type, and honestly, this is really what speaks to me as a person now with different things in life, but I really wanted a PlayStation 2 and I remember like that was the big thing that I wanted. And I got a PlayStation 2, and I bet you I only played it for like a couple of weeks and then I was back to outside playing, and really just wasn’t super interested in it. I think that kind of still speaks to me today is I’d much rather be in the outdoors and not necessarily in front of a screen.”
Here’s a solo read of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” from Reba McEntire.
Here’s a solo read of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” from Carrie Underwood.
Here’s a solo read of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” from Brenda Lee.
Here’s a solo read of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” from Josh Turner.
Here’s a solo read of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” from Maddie & Tae.
Here’s a solo read of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” from Parker McCollum.
Here’s a solo read of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” from Tyler Hubbard.
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap
Kimberly from Little Big Town
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
Tae from Maddie & Tae
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.
Jimi from Little Big Town
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his reindeer they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
Little Big Town
“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! On Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
So up to the house-top the reindeer they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St Nicholas too
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
Maddie from Maddie & Tae
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
Karen from Little Big Town
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
Phillip from Little Big Town
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”