It's been a great few days in the world of Jaret Ray Reddick. His debut album, Just Woke Up, is out now for you all to enjoy. Jaret's first live performances as a country artist also took place at C2C Festival at The O2 Arena in London this past weekend and were extremely well received by fans old and new.
To go with the release of Just Woke Up, we met up with Jaret himself to discuss about his passion and creativity he’s put into his new album. Recorded during the lockdown of 2021 in Texas, Jaret is back to tell us his story of growing up in Texas, his relationship with family and obviously his love for country music.
So you have had a lot of experiences in the past with so many people in the music industry and so many bands and artists in general, What is the best the one you can recall?
Because of music I have visited the world, I have met anybody you could think of. It's crazy to me. I started playing drums when I was a little kid and I started singing because we couldn't find a singer and at the time our bass player could play drums. And we had another friend that can play bass, so I was just like "well, I'll sing". And we were a metal band back then. So I was like, singing death metal.
With Bowling For Soup you've done the acoustic. How did you come up with the country album?
I've wanted to do a country, um, for a long time. I mean, I grew up listening to country in the backseat of my parents car, and where I lived country was keen, you know, coming from a small town in Texas. I t's kind of in my blood. It's the way I write songs anyway. I mean, Bowling For Soup songs if you break them down, they're structured like country songs. They're very much like stories with a beginning and an end and a twist in the middle. It just was kind of one of those things where it was just a natural transition really. The songs were easy.
You mentioned obviously, you're born in Texas as well. How was growing up in Texas? Do you still live there?
It was great and yeah I still live there. I live about two hours away from where I grew up. I love it. I mean, it's the best people on the planet. And you know, I love the culture there. Weather is usually not bad. It gets very, very hot and very, very cold. But for the most part, it just sort of rides this line. But yeah, I love it. I don't think I'll ever leave.
So "Just Woke Up" is out today out today. What is the message behind it?
I don't know that I really have an overall message.
Is it a way for you to tell your story. It's very personal, right?
Very personal. Yeah. 100% it's sort of like one of those things where I can get pretty personal in Bowling for Soup. But most of the time when I do that, I'll then I'll say something funny. And it makes it easier for me from the right emotional standpoint. Because I'd be like, "Okay, I have real feelings. But here's a fart joke" Well, in country, you can't really count on that. I didn't want to make a silly album. I didn't want it to just be Bowling for Soup with country music, so when I started writing the songs, it was very easy to put out my actual feelings on it and it made the right sense.
So what was the writing process? Did you write it during the lockdown?
I did, with my friend Zack Malloy, who's a musician and songwriter who lives in Nashville now. He was in a band called The Nixons that we grew up, opening up for. And, yeah, he pushed me. He's litterally was like "let's just do it. What else are we doing right now?" And so we wrote the songs back and forth, just passing texts and voice memos back and forth. We hired musicians to play the music. And then I went and did the vocals in Nashville. It was very simple. It all just kind of just came out very quickly, we wrote the record, I think in three weeks, and then recorded it and three days.
Where did you find the inspiration? Was it just because he was locked down? So you actually had the time to just stop after being busy all the time?
The quarantine definitely made it easier. It definitely made it to where I told myself "okay, you've got the time to sit down". And, the other thing is that the motivation behind it too was "hey, you're either gonna sit on your ass and not do anything , or get up there and create something. And so new Bowling for Soup record and a new country album. I guess it on infinite amount of other people's stuff, and just tried to keep myself working, keep myself sane.
So you got to work with a lot of musicians for this album. How was it?
The best story of the album is the song "Natalie". "Natalie" is was actually written by my biological father, who I never knew he recorded it in 1959 as a nine year old kid. So I actually covered that song of his on this record. And then I got the guitar player from my favourite band in the world, The Descendants, Stephen Anderson to play on it. And his wife's name is Natalie. So it was just this crazy. Just like "What? I can't believe this is happening!" So you have Frank also on there, and then Kurt Cracker who I've known for a long time. Everybody did all their stuff from their own house.
C2C is tomorrow. What can we expect from your two sets?
I'm gonna do exactly the same thing. Both days. As far as I know.But I guess I'll decide tomorrow. We'll come out. We'll do a set. We have set prepared. We rehearsed yesterday. None of these guys have ever played together before. We've put together a band: two Brits, and then a couple of Texas.
Are you playing acoustic or electric?
I'll play acoustic on it. It's gonna be exciting. The band is electric. I'll be playing acoustic guitar, but the band is electric. It's, you know, we're full band. It's going to sound exactly like the record without a fiddle because I didn't find one of those.
You're using a lot of different instruments in this record, did you play some of them?
On this particular record, I did not. The country world in the States is kind of like a factory, the musicians literally heard the song, they played my whole album in one day. And then recorded 12 songs in one day. Which is crazy, because in the rock world, we would slave over that for three weeks, maybe maybe even longer, right? But there's an organicness to it, it feels natural, you can tell that these guys like got in there and actually played it, and so that was the thing when I started doing the album itself, I was adamant about the fact that I didn't want to do that, I didn't want to sit in my studio and play a guitar solo 400 times. I just wanted it to be different. I just didn't want it to be the same old thing that I do all the time. So I was like, "Why not?" Get pros to do it. That's what the country artists do.You just get pros to come in there and they play your stuff and then you sing it. I can play anything on there. But I'm glad I didn't, because it's cool to listen to it, and be like "Oh my God, that guy's really good".
Lyrics wise, what was the approach compared to Bowling For Soup's record?
The good thing about Bowling for Soup is that I almost sort of get to duck and cover a lot, meaning like, I can sort of Bob and I can hide behind the band and like, or I can, I can put something out that has feelings to it. But then I can then go "oh, I'm just kidding". Here's the joke. Just save the moment. I didn't mean to like really tell you. There are jokes on the country album, but I didn't want it to be funny. Like, I didn't want it to be like "Oh, the singer from Bowling for Soup did a country album", I want it to be like, Oh, the singer from Bowling For Soup did a fucking album". Like you mean it. You want like a separate layout to your project.
Is that one of the reasons why you're using your full name on it?
I love that I'm getting to explain this finally, because people have been just sort of like, "why did you do that?" Because it sounds more country. But it's literally for the algorithm, because if I put it under Jarret Reddick, every time you searched me, you will see about Bowling for Soup or you sing on MC Lars or he sang on this and he's in this podcast, all of that would come up. And the country stuff would literally just get buried down in there. So if I add my middle name, I'm a completely new artist. And if you're listening on Spotify, and you go "Oh, I like this band" it will suggest me because it's like "Hey, you might like this too" It's funny because my mom calls me Jarret Ray. My friends call me Jr. I don't think I'd give the title enough credit. There is a lot of stuff on the album that I am saying that is very, very personal. I didn't know my biological sisters.
So enrol family where I say "the sisters that I never knew I had", I didn't meet them until I was 46 years old. It's nice to be able to get those things out. Actually, even there's a lyric where I say, "people are just people, they want health and happiness" because I've been all the way around the world. And you look at the news today and it's crazy, because I've played in Russia and people were lovely. Everybody was great. They were just people. Yeah. And if you look at a video of a Russian city, it looks just like it does.
And thehen you go into Ukraine, it's like, those are just people they all don't want the same things. We all want health and happiness, a future for our case. You want a past you can be proud of right? And when I say "I realised that not everybody thinks the same as me".
Originally, that line was different. It was like I don't have the same beliefs, that's when my producer thought that with the line I was alienating people because I was calling people out for believing stupid things.
You know what? It's somewhat it's true. It is. It's kind of like telling the truth.
What is next for you now?
A lot of touring. So we come back full band next month, come back acoustic the month after that. And then a whole summer of touring in the US. And then maybe something here later in the year.
Amazing! We love having you here in the UK!
Our tours over here so big. This country embraced us before the US really did. We were headlining over here academies and back home we were playing 400 people cap venues! We love being in the UK.
Words by Sal Fasone
Photos by Gianmarco Rizzo