If you go
› What: Jake Owen’s “Life’s Whatcha Make It” Tour
› Where: AT&T Field, 201 Power Alley
› When: 6 p.m. gates open, 7 p.m. show Friday, May 18
› Admission: Tickets start at $34.50
› For more information: ticketfly.com or at the Lookouts box office
It's ironic that country newcomer Jordan Davis is opening for Jake Owen on the "Life's Whatcha Make It" tour, which launches Friday night, May 18, from AT&T Field.
That phrase describes how Davis has made the most of his career in country music since signing with UMG Nashville two years ago. His debut single, "Singles You Up," went to No. 1 on Country Airplay charts and his first album, "Home State," debuted at No. 6 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart, marking the highest-selling debut album for a solo country artist this year. His second single, "Take It From Me," was released earlier this year.
Now he's joining Chris Janson and Owen on Owen's summer baseball-stadium tour.
"We have 25 minutes onstage, we will be the first people to play live every night and we don't take that lightly," says Davis in a telephone interview. "We'll play all the music from ('Home State'). It's going to be a lot of fun."
In an industry where hundreds of aspiring singers are looking to make a name for themselves, Davis stands out in two ways. First, there's that big, full, signature beard. He jokes it isn't as long as Chris Stapleton's — but he's working on it.
"This is about three years," he says of the growth. "I think I just got lazy one day. I've never been a clean-shaven dude, I've always liked facial hair. I definitely don't have any plans in the future to shave it off — until my wife tells me to."
Second, and most important, Davis writes songs with clever, fresh, contemporary lyrics and pairs them with syncopated melody lines that gives a new texture, so to speak, to country music.
For example, coining the phrase "singles you up" to refer to a girl's status after a breakup.
"When I was playing with my buddy, he had just gotten engaged and we were congratulating him. I said he was smart not to 'single her up.' The first time it was said, we were all like, 'We got to write that. It's either going to be really cool or really dumb.' Two hours later, we had 'Singles You Up,'" he describes.
Even though the Shreveport, La., singer comes from a long line of songwriters in his family, he got a degree in environmental science from LSU. He was in his last years in college when the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill occurred.
"I was actually looking into going into gas before Deepwater Horizon. Then finding a job somewhere around the cleanup of Horizon was something I was considering," he says.
Instead, he told his family he was moving to Nashville to pursue music five months after graduating.
"I think it was still a shock to my mom, but it wasn't completely out of left field. Country music runs in the Davis family."
In June 2017, Rolling Stone included him in its "10 New Country Artists You Need to Know."
"Anytime you see your name with something as iconic as Rolling Stone, it gives you a little reinforcement that you're on the right path. That was a pretty cool moment," says Davis.
In March he released "Home State," a nod to his beloved Louisiana.
"I'm a very proud Louisianan, born and raised. I could see Louisiana in all these songs and it was the one common thread between the 12 songs. One's about an old flame from Baton Rouge, one's a memory from high school in Shreveport. The record had a sense of place. They were just me."
Contact Susan Pierce at email@example.com or 423-757-6284.