Jason Blaine, Artist of the Week
In 2002, Jason Blaine won Project Discovery 2002, a talent search sponsored by CMT. His victory led to the release of his first single the following year, “That’s What I Do.”
Blaine, who picked up a guitar at age 8, joined his father’s hobby band at 16 and has a business degree from Ottawa’s Algonquin College. “I’m getting to where I feel qualified to be doing what I’m doing. A lot of things about it are starting to make sense, and things that were harder before are coming much more naturally and easier. I’ve toured enough and been around enough to know that there is no pleasing everybody all the time. And I’m OK with that.
Fun, family, friends and faith.
They’re the cornerstones of life for Jason Blaine. So no wonder they inspired the title — and the music — of his fifth album Everything I Love, out July 9 on eOne Music Canada.
“I just wanted to share all the sides of my personality,” explains the 33‐year‐old singer‐songwriter, husband and father from Pembroke, Ont. My family’s really important to me. And in recent years, I’ve had a kind of spiritual awakening. Entering my 30s, I finally found balance in my life and got my priorities right. I learned you can have a little bit of fun on Saturday night and be at church on Sunday morning. That’s really where I’m at. In fact, I toyed with the idea of calling the record Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. But really, there’s much more Saturday night than there is Sunday morning on the album.”
Fun comes first and foremost on the upbeat and celebratory Everything I Love, as anyone who’s heard the leadoff single Rock It Country Girl knows. The song, co‐written with frequent collaborator Derek Ruttan and Nashville ace Jim Beavers, sets the tone and tempo for the 12 song disc.
Of course, that brand of personal, no‐bull honesty is nothing new for Blaine. It’s been his stock in trade since his first single in 2003: The tellingly titled That’s What I Do.
2012 turned into a banner year for Blaine, who earned CCMA nominations for Male Artist, Single of the Year, Songwriter, & Producer. Life So Far turned out three Top 10 singles, including On a Night Like This, Cool and They Don’t Make ’Em Like That Anymore, who won Single of the Year at the Canadian Country Music Awards, and whose video hit No. 1 on CMT Canada.
“That album was really a time of reflection for me. I covered all the personal topics I wanted to cover—there was a song for my wife, a song for my children, the song for my grandfather. I poured my heart into that, and was so overwhelmed at the way it was received. So after that I got to thinking, ‘Where do I go from here?’ I really just wanted to hand it back to the fans and make an album that I, as a country fan, would want to hear. That’s why the overall tone of this album is entertaining. I literally made a list of themes I wanted to cover. I wanted to write as many up‐tempo, crowd‐friendly songs as I could. I wanted to have a lot of singles. I wanted to breathe new life into my set list. I wanted songs that people could sing along to. I wanted something that would surprise people—something they might not expect to hear from me if they only know me for They Don’t Make ’Em Like That Anymore.”
And it’s the raucous energy that drives his new CD, Everything I Love, that might surprise some who only know Blaine from They Don’t Make ’Em Like That Anymore, that’s just the way he likes it.
“I felt last year like some people might have come out solely to see me perform that song and seen a different show than they expected. Don’t get me wrong; that song is completely special to me. It’s a career song. But it’s just three minutes and 40 seconds long. And it’s just one part of me. I also like to play my electric guitar loud. I feel like I come alive on stage when our band is really connecting and I’ve got my guitar in my hand and take a solo. That sets my soul on fire. And this album most closely reflects my live show, more than any other album.”
But more than that, it reflects his growth, maturity and confidence as a singer, songwriter, performer and person after 17 years in music — more than half his life.
“But I think that this album represents me well. I think that it’s the closest I’ve come to capturing who I am and where I’m at. I think I constantly improve with every album, just from playing shows and getting better at singing and delivering vocals and expressing what I want to express. But often, within six months after you record a record, you think: ‘I would do this or that differently.’ Not this time; I wouldn’t change a thing. I know it’s cliche to say, ‘This is my best album.’ But from top to bottom, from track 1 to track 11, this is a really solid album.”