Jerrod Niemann’s “Shinin’ on Me” rises 18-17 on Billboard’s Top Country Songs chart as sophomore set “Free the Music” arrives on Sea Gayle Records/Arista Nashville. The success of the lead single marks the fourth time Niemann has cracked the top 20 of the chart. “Lover, Lover,” the first single from his chart-topping 2010 debut, “Judge Jerrod & the Hung Jury” (also on Sea Gayle Records/Arista Nashville), hit No. 1 two weeks after the album’s release while follow-up “What Do You Want” reached No. 4. The No. 1 bow of “Judge Jerrod & the Hung Jury” on Top Country Albums was an unusual feat for a new country artist with, at the time, only one hit single.
“We had so much fun experimenting on the first record,” the Kansas-born singer/songwriter says. “Now it was, ‘What can we do to challenge ourselves?’ Looking back on some of the artists that have represented this town, those icons have always challenged themselves musically, creatively. I just thought it would be fun to dig through years of music and try to find a way to make it work.”
And in titling the set “Free the Music”, Niemann didn’t just have country in mind. Laced with horns as well as dobro and acoustic B-Bender guitar, the Oct. 2 release is something of a musical smorgasbord, just as Niemann intended.
“Everybody is going to know it’s different,” he says of the collection, which he co-produced with Dave Brainard. “Some will say it’s more of a Beatles sound. Some of the songs sound Dixieland-ish. The biggest thing is the horn section because you haven’t heard horns in country in a while.”
In preparing for the release of the record, Sony Music Nashville launched “Free the Music” month with daily music giveaways. Fans were encouraged to go to JerrodNiemannOfficial.com and sign up to win the daily prize, which included gift cards, a black light and black light poster, a vinyl copy of “Free the Music” and a record player.
Fans could also stream the album on the site, and if they preordered, they received a free download of the single. Niemann gave away a premium Spotify subscription for one year and created a special “Free the Music” playlist.
To engage young fans, Sony partnered with more than 360 colleges to present the “Rock Your Room” sweepstakes that continues through Oct. 22. The winner will receive more than $700 in Sony electronics and an exclusive live performance from Niemann in his or her dorm room.
Niemann promoted the album during street week with appearances on “CBS This Morning” on Oct. 1, followed that night by an intimate concert at New York’s Housing Works Bookstore Cafe with proceeds benefiting AIDS and homelessness charities.