“They bring so much to the table. And they’ll bring lyrics and melody as well, or maybe tweak on a melody or a groove. You don’t need to worry about carrying all the lyrics because they’re great at what they do. You work together on the lyric and I enjoy that, because then you don’t feel like the pressure is all on you to come up with these amazing lyrics.”
Like he did on Life So Far, Blaine had a specific theme in mind for Everything I Love. “On Life So Far, it was more personal,” he explains. “I really wanted songs that allowed country music fans that cared about what I was doing, or the industry, to get to know me. I really opened up on that record: I wrote a song for my wife and kids called ‘Cool’ because I entered my 30s during that album, and so I talked about how the stuff in your 20s is still kind of fun, but it’s not as cool as having a family to come home to.
“I also wrote this song called ‘They Don’t Make ‘Em Like That Anymore’ that I thought was only going to be an album cut as a tribute to my grandparents and their 50-plus-years love story. We singled it; it ended up just speaking to a lot of people and it won [the CCMA] Single of the Year.
“Everything I Love is totally different. I wanted to write an entertaining country album. 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. It’s still me, and there are still personal songs on it, but I really focused on fun and writing these uptempo crowd anthems. This album most closely reflects what people can expect from my live show.”
Blaine, prepping for a Canadian autumn tour co-headlining with Deric Ruttan and Chad Brownlee, says writing fun songs is not an easy task. “To try to write a real great party anthem that will go over with the crowd; one that radio will accept so your peers will still think it’s cool as well; and one that avoids clichés and is fresh, keeps you on your toes.
“It’s all been said, it’s all been done, and people are going to do it again,” Blaine continues. “People are still going to talk about trucks and country and girls and good times and beer. As long as there’s country music, they’ll sing about these things, but finding ways to do it just a little bit different is the tricky part.”
In fact, Blaine, whose first song was a dare from his father, says if you focus too much on avoiding clichés, it can be detrimental to the process. “We call it ‘paralysis from analysis,’” he laughs. “You can sit there, and if you worry about everything that’s been said already, or if somebody has a song on the radio that says something similar – if you think about it too much – then you can get that paralysis from analysis.
“The truth is, people like to cut up on a Saturday night, get loud and throw back some beers and have good times with friends. And the boys always like when the good-looking country girls come around. So we have to sing about these things when you want a good time.”
With five albums and 16 singles to his credit, Blaine has certainly come a long way from his initial victory at the 2002 Project Discovery contest, when his very first release, a Top 10 hit of the Tom McKillip-produced “That’s What I Do,” also earned him his very first SOCAN royalty cheque.
But what was supposed to be a happy occasion turned into a slightly stressful one. “I remember being really, really miffed when I went to the bank for the first time,” Blaine recalls. “I was so excited and it was a hefty cheque – the first time I felt like [songwriting] was a real career. But I went to the bank to cash it and they placed some ridiculous hold on it because they didn’t know who SOCAN was. I remember telling them, ‘Look them up. If Bryan Adams and Shania Twain can cash SOCAN cheques, you guys can cash this one!’
“Anyway, we got over that, and I’m a big fan of the direct deposit now,” he laughs.
Publisher: Jason Blaine Music
Discography: While We Were Waiting (2005), Make My Move (2008), Sweet Sundown (2010), Life So Far (2011), Everything I Love (2013)
SOCAN Member since 2003