“Hey, Nashville! Break’s over!

Jason Blaine remembers the gentle joshing he received from fellow workers during the few years he toiled at a filing cabinet factory back in the ‘90s. As a then-aspiring country music singer and songwriter who dreamed of living in Music City, Tennessee, and making an impact on country music, Blaine was ribbed by a few blue-collar types on the job, but never let it get under his skin.

“I got teased a bit, but I think it was all in good fun,” recalls Blaine, who was raised on a radio diet of Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Travis Tritt and Vince Gill, among others. “They literally named me ‘Nashville,’ but I thought, ‘That’s all right.’ I always knew I’d end up as a songwriter in Nashville.”

Today, the Pembroke, ON, native Blaine, 33, has transformed fantasy into reality with his wife

“If I was a country fan, what would I want to hear? A turn-it-up loud, all-summer-long, drive-around-in-my-truck album.”

Amy and their three kids, Grace, Sara and Carter. Although he may live south of the Canadian border, Blaine’s star is still very much on the rise back home. In 2012, his fourth album, Life So Far, yielded the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) Single of the Year with “They Don’t Make ‘Em Like That Anymore.” This year, he’s nominated for aCCMAs for Songwriter of the Year – for “Cool,” a co-write with Deric Ruttan, from his stellar 2013 album Everything I Love.

Co-produced by Blaine with Scott Cooke (Florida Georgia Line, Nickelback), Everything I Love is packed with irresistible earworms like the energetic “Rock It, Country Girl,” the celebratory “Good Ol’ Nights” and the slap-happy “Friends of Mine.” The latter features a quartet of homegrown country stars – Jason McCoy, Gord Bamford, Deric Ruttan and Chad Brownlee – chiming in on the festivities.

“I joked to them that if they hadn’t agreed to do it, I’d have to re-name the song ‘No Friends,’” Blaine chuckles.

Each song on Everything I Love is marked by melodic maturity, everyman lyrics, a hint of swagger and a stylistic versatility that adheres to Music Row expectations while still allowing Blaine to maintain his own identity. That’s something he may not have necessarily achieved had he landed anywhere other than in Nashville.

“I felt like I would have copped out on a dream of mine if I’d never actually went there and tried to figure out that scene and make friends,” admits Blaine, who honed his musical chops playing in a band with his dad and his brother. “It is a hub for amazing talent. If you go thinking you’re a pretty good songwriter, you will be humbled. If you go there thinking you’re a pretty good musician, you will be humbled. And you’ll be better for it.

“You go to some writers’ nights, you just go and listen and you think, ‘God, that’s amazing.’ You’ll

“There are still personal songs on it, but I really focused on fun and writing these uptempo crowd anthems.”

hear songs that you may never hear on the radio, and there are more undiscovered hits than there are hits. But it will raise your game, and I have friends and peers that I count on and trust that I can bounce stuff off, and they’ll go either, ‘Yeah man, that’s really great stuff,’ or they’ll send you back to the drawing board.”

Some of those friends and collaborators have impressive track records: fellow Canadians Ruttan (Blake Shelton’s “Mine Would Be You,” Eric Church’s “Hell On The Heart”); Kelly Archer (Jason Aldean, Dustin Lynch) and Steven Lee Olsen (The Judds, 98 Degrees); and U.S. writers Jim Beavers (Tim McGraw’s “Felt Good On My Lips”, Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup”) and George Teren (Brad Paisley’s “Where I Get Where I’m Going”, Tim McGraw’s “Real Good Man”.)

“I’m more of a melody/music/groove/guitar-riff guy,’ says Blaine, whose most popular U.S. placement has been “Work It Out” on country rapper Colt Ford’s Top 10 album Every Chance I Get, a song that featured Luke Bryan on vocals. “I think I’m stronger in that area than lyrics, which is why I’ve just been really fortunate to write with some guys who have just been honing their craft for years, like a George Teren, or a Deric Ruttan.