Hear Jerrod Niemann's Debut, Win Tickets

Best-known as a songwriter who has penned tracks for


As a successful songwriter, why release a cover tune as your lead single?

I've always loved the song, but I wasn't sure the first song should be a cover. Then I realized coming from the songwriting realm of Nashville, sometimes it's just easy to get pegged as a songwriter, so it was nice to step out of that and record a song I wish I'd written and challenge myself by singing all the vocal parts.

How did you approach singing all the parts?

I did eight of the nine parts the first night. My voice was already hoarse from singing and the first thing to go is your lower register, so when I finally got to the bass part, it was not happening. We gave up for the night and we were sitting at a bar and I told my buddy, "There have been a couple times where I was the victim of a bartender overserving me and woke up with a really low voice." He said, "That might work." So in the name of country music, I properly medicated my vocal chords for a few hours and when I woke up the next morning, my voice was like a mix between Lurch and Chef from "South Park."

Is achieving success first as a songwriter a blessing or a curse for an aspiring artist?

It could work both ways. For me, it helped. I think the fact that the album was made so unconventionally, and that I'd had some success as a writer, allowed the label and some other people involved to trust the creative process more because they respected me as someone who creates music.

What prompted you to intersperse the songs with comedic bits?

We all have different moods and layers and I like the fact that the album represents every possible mood I could have. At the end of the day, when someone is kind enough to support your art, I feel like it's our job to entertain them to the best of our abilities. We were having so much fun in the studio that we began creating these bits or skits to introduce the songs. I tried to make it an experience, a 40-minute vacation from your problems other than just 10 songs back to back.

What are you doing to promote the record?

We're doing a lot of album release parties in certain markets. We're doing Aquapalooza in Austin with Brad Paisley at Lake Travis [July 10]. We're performing the album in its entirety-skits and everything-at the Basement [in Nashville]. In the fall, we're doing a tour with Gary Allan and Randy Houser.

Why did you title it "Judge Jerrod & the Hung Jury"?

The album is full of double-entendres. Our band was driving on Interstate 70 near Denver and everybody started putting their feedback in. There were conflicting ideas and [guitarist] Scott McQuery said, "We can't decide anything. We're like a hung jury." Then the double-entendre hit and we started laughing. So as the album was being made, I thought, "If anybody ever hears this, they are not only going to judge me for making it, but all of you too." It doesn't represent me with a gavel in a gown with a wig on. It's just saying, "We're going to get judged for doing this."