An Open Letter To Jake Owen

Jake OwenHey Jake, it’s your buddy Leon. How have you been? I see that your new single flopped…bummer, man. Anyway, don’t you think this radio pandering bit has done got out of hand?

You know what I’m talking about Jake. Don’t act like you’re happy releasing fluffy, uptempo “funky” material over the stuff that actually means something. You said that before, you have to still mean it right? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. I’m not sure, Jake.

I’m bringing this up now for one reason – to persuade you to release “LAX” as your new single. I’m not an idiot. I know that traditional country isn’t making a resurgence on the radio waves like we all think it is, but it is making a resurgence overall. Heck, just recently it was announced that Aaron Watson sold 39,000 copies of his latest album, Vaquero while Little Big Town sold 51,000 copies with their latest album, The Breaker. The former has literally no hits at country radio whatsoever while the latter had a huge number one thanks to Taylor Swift’s name being attached to it! Sure, you could argue that Watson has been around for a long time, but then again so have Little Big Town. The difference in sales between the two isn’t that much, my friend, and between that and the rise of other artists like Cody Jinks, Sturgill Simpson and Margo Price, there is a market out there.

Jake, at your best you can truly be a real asset to the entire genre. Hell, you even made bro-country sound fun. You’ve also proven that through songs like “What We Ain’t Got”, “Ghost Town”, “Life Of The Party”, “Startin’ With Me” and a couple other songs that you can be a great artist. At your worst?

Jake Owen Beachin Remix Picture

Yeah….don’t need to ever hear that song again. I mean don’t get me wrong, your last single “If He Ain’t Gonna Love You” wasn’t atrocious by any means, but it catered to that funky R&B noise that we don’t need anymore of on country radio. And yeah, I get that Chris Stapleton was on it, I won’t deny he’s written some bad songs (even if his vocals on the track are an asset). Still, what made you think it would be a hit? Corporate radio hates Chris Stapleton since they’re whiny babies who didn’t discover him first. Now you’ve got your lowest performing hit to date.

But now that’s done, and the time to release a new single is upon you.You were a beacon of light during the bro-country era when you released “What We Ain’t Got” as a single (shoutout to Travis Meadows by the way), and you have that chance again with “LAX”. It’s a damn great song, man. The pedal steel is obnoxiously prevalent in the song, and you’ve got a ton of personality needed to sell the sadness within the song. Plus, it’s well written to boot. You could also release one of the more generic tracks on your new album like “Everybody Dies Young”, “You Ain’t Going Nowhere”, or “After Midnight”, but what good will that really do Jake? Any of them would probably go number one, but how long would it last? “American Country Love Song” helped to end your dry spell of not having any hits, and now look where you are just one single later.

I’m not saying “LAX” is going to turn you into some big megastar or anything, since it’s not. Radio doesn’t like smart songs. But for God’s sake Jake, if you truly want to make a difference in country music like you did all those years ago, release “LAX”…….please?

Editor’s note: It was brought up in the comments so I’ll address it here, yes, I get that Jake has little to no say about his next single, but hell, he fought for “What We Ain’t Got”, why not do the same for this? All I want to see is a little effort…

5 thoughts on “An Open Letter To Jake Owen

  1. Yes yes yes yes yes! LAX is phenomenal and Jake is absolutely an artist that has the potential to release great music. It does nothing to increase Jake Owens status in country music by releasing boring, generic crap. American Country love song did squat for his career. I get that the label has ultimate say but he should fight for LAX. And the idea the traditional country won’t sell or be played on the radio to an extent is being proven false. Artists like Midland and WMM are both finding early success at radio and artists like Tim McGraw and Eric Church are releasing quality music that radio plays. This is Jake’s best past forward at becoming more relevant in my opinion. Anyway really well written letter I enjoyed this piece!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, good point about Jake having no say in the decision. I mean to include that in there but forget. Good point about Midland and WMM (wish he was climbing faster though). All I want to see is some effort from Jake, at least fight for it.

      Thanks by the way!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great job, Leon.

    That was a very enjoyable tune. I love the steel guitar, and the “LAX”/LA-ex pun was pretty clever.

    Owen, along with Chris Young, Randy Houser, and (to a significantly lesser extent) Josh Turner has long been on my list of male artists who have great voices but all too often squander their talent on material that rangers from unambitious to outright bad. Always a welcome reprieve when they record a substantive song like this.


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