Brett Eldredge is poised to release his debut album, "Bring You Back." The set contains his hit single "Don't Ya," which is sitting at No. 9 on the Hot Country Songs chart. After releasing his first single, "Raymond," almost three years ago, nobody is looking forward to getting the album in stores any more than Eldredge himself.
"I've been waiting, and the fans have been asking 'When is the album coming out?' It's been a while since we've released 'Raymond," he admits. "Now, it's three years later, and we finally got a hit on the radio that is doing well. But going through those ups and downs and trying to figure it all out makes it that much sweeter."
Billboard is excited to be able to able to bring you a listen to an exclusive acoustic video performance of the title track of the album:
He has been blown away by the response to the current single, which he said has been a live favorite from the first time he performed it. "Everybody likes to feel good. The song does that. I figured that out the first time we played it live. They wanted to groove to it, and those songs are sometimes hard to write. But, this particular day, we hit a groove. It made a connection with a crowd, and it's been incredible."
Many of those stadium performances have come about while opening for Taylor Swift. Eldredge says the singer is the epitome of class, talent, and also knows how to treat those around her – from her crew to the opening act. "She taught me so much," he says. "She was so down-to-earth. She wrote me a birthday card, talked to me before I went on stage. She was very cool to me, and I will always thank her for that. But, the way she deals with her crowd and connects with them is unlike anyone I've ever seen. Every time she moves her head, they follow. Every word she says, they follow."
Having Swift give Eldredge her stamp of approval was a key factor in his success this year. "If she says she loves my music, they follow and they listen. I got to meet thousands of fans that I might not have ever had the opportunity to do so. My music is starting to take off, and I attribute a good part of that to her. I thank her so much."
Though "Don't Ya" is definitely radio-friendly, you can tell from his vocal performance on the track that Eldredge has a soulful delivery. Listening to the album brings to mind acts such as Con Hunley and T. Graham Brown – who also had the bluesy touch. He says he is flattered by the comparison.
"Byron Gallimore, who produced a couple of songs on the album, used to tell me that my voice reminded him of them a little bit. So, I started listening to them some, and I loved them. I love soul music and soulful singers. I always talk about Ray Charles. I love big voices, and to be able to get my voice out front on this album was very important to me. That's what I feed off of – belting it out there, and I try to do that as much as possible, and be as distinctive as I can."
One of the most emotional performances on the album is the closer, "Go On Without Me," which he says has made quite an impact at his label home.
"When we had the meeting for this album, we talked about this song. Lindsay Walleman at Warner Brothers had just passed. She was 28, and a close friend of mine. She was one of the people who were fighting for me to get on the radio. She would wake up early and get on the phone, and stay on it late at night. It was so hard for me to see someone with such a larger than life personality leave this place. But, she was the kind of person that wouldn't want you to feel down about it. When the label heard this song, they agreed that we were finishing the album with it."
Eldredge will be opening some dates this fall for Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley, as well as headlining his own tour of small clubs and theaters.