Jake Owen's fifth studio LP is new territory for the singer who's known for lighthearted beach and party tunes, and he feels really good about that. After the release of "Real Life" (which was also around the time his divorce was announced), Owen started over with new songs - and he is not releasing the material he originally planned on.
"I was at a different place when I was making that record," he tells EW of ditching the material. "I was still married, and all of the sudden that ended, and I had to find a way to feel good again.
"I started down that path and then I realized that, for me, making music is as about feeling good as the listeners that gets to hear it," he says. "I have to make an album that I enjoy singing every night."
The album is about love. But don't expect every track to be a gushy love song. It turns out Jake Owen enjoys singing about love on tour: "I kept noticing this reoccurring theme. The word kept appearing, but it was said in such different ways. I'm really proud that I got to encompass how love can be felt different ways but still remain the same, if that makes sense."
His vocals will be on full display for American Love. Though he's not entirely walking away from the ultra-cool speak-singing he's known for, Owen wants to really show country fans he can sing. "Sometimes my voice gets hidden," he admits. "People don't even have the opportunity to know that I love to sing."
The album will street July 29, and Owen reveals that he listens to it in his car. "It's been a long time since I made a record that I put on in my car and listen to on my own - but I can't stop. It makes me happy, and I know how much work I put into it."
Included in the album is a collaboration with Chris Stapleton. He helped write "If He Ain't Gonna Love You," and Stapleton also sings backup. "And it sounds so good," Owen tells Taste of Country Nights host Sam Alex. "He sounds unbelievable on it, so I'm so excited."
-Christina Vinson (The Boot)
1. American Love
2. After Midnight
3. Where I Am
4. Everybody Dies Young
5. VW Van
6. Good Company
8. If He Ain't Gonna Love You
9. When You Love Someone
10. You Ain't Going Nowhere
11. American Country Love Song