Good morning and happy weekend country fans!
We’ve been saving out on this #FridayFind for a few weeks now, and we’re finally ready to unleash him to the readers. When it comes to being comfortable in one’s own skin, very few artists enter the country music business as clear-minded and confident as this week’s featured artist. Having been the lead singer of the Top 40 charting punk rock band New Medicine in the early part of his music career, this Minnesota-born-and-raised #FridayFind recently made his country music debut as a singer-songwriter with his mind fixed on sharing his personal story with the world. You heard it here first: the fourteenth Rhythm & Boots NYC #FridayFind and surefire soon-to-be country all-star is Jake Rose.
Growing up on a pumpkin farm in a small neighborhood directly west of the Twin Cities, Jake began playing music from a young age (and unsurprisingly took part in the occasional pond hockey game). Musically inspired by his dad who played in a southern rock band and loved Lynyrd Skynyrd among others, Rose was raised on southern rock, classic rock, and country, noting that he was hooked on the idea of playing music for as long as he can remember.
In his earliest songwriting years as a teenager, Nirvana altered his path; but while heavier rock and grunge became standard for him, the concept of “great songwriting and melodic sense” were still at the forefront of his musical construction. While being the frontman of his rock band New Medicine, however, Rose admits that “even when [he] turned in songs to the label back then they always said, ‘[it] kinda sounds like a country song, can you make it more rock?’”
His teenage years passed, and Rose still found his songwriting tendencies leaning towards the genre of folk-country-americana. Making the transition into the country music space seemed natural for him; primarily, the “parallels between the two are that [he’s] always tried to come at them from [his] own angle…trying to write unique songs that only [he] could sing.” While in the studio, there wasn’t too drastic of a change either. Rose says that as soon as he began to “turn down the gain knob a little on the Marshall and not [try] to mask any of his songs,” his country music career began.
Nowadays, Rose is living in Nashville and pursuing the music that he grew up on in the first place. He’s already had songs cut and released by industry superstars like #MondayHero10 Keith Urban and Colt Ford among others, and revealed that he recently had one of his heroes, #MondayHero9 Kid Rock lay down vocals in his living room, a moment that he still finds too badass to be true.
Getting ready to release his debut EP Family and already having the music video for his first single “Sleeves” premiere on CMT this week, Rose has a lot to look forward to. In his free moments outside of working on new material you’d find him trying out new restaurants in Nashville before a Netflix AC session, meeting up with some buddies on a lake nearby, or dreaming about opening a (#MondayHero13) Kenny Chesney show at Target Field in Minneapolis.
One thing is certain: whether Rose is playing a stadium show in front of the No Shoes Nation or at home getting down and dirty on the family farm in Minnesota, he is confident in his ability to be nothing other than himself and to trust his process. Or as he puts it:
“I feel like I can truly be myself in country…it’s the soundtrack to my life. I’m a blue jeans, t-shirt, and boots and flannel type of guy. It’s how I was raised and makes me feel comfortable in my own skin. I think my songs don’t fit in a certain category of country but my songs are truly authentic and genuine, and that’s what country is all about to me.”
Jake Rose’s Rhythm and Boots combo: His Gibson Classic J45 paired with his Red Wing leather boots.
To find out more about Jake’s thoughts on his new Family EP, Halloween-time pumpkin farming, bending genres through music, the power of a formal boots-and-suits combo and more, read the full-length Rhythm & Boots NYC interview below his “Sleeves” video!
*This happens to be one of our favorite songs so far of 2018, by the way*
To learn more about Jake Rose and find out when you can catch him at a live show, visit his website here.
Enjoy the weekend!
Rhythm & Boots NYC: You’ve had quite the musical journey since growing up the son of a pumpkin-raising, guitar-slinging father. What or who were your musical influences growing up, and how do you think they are reflected in the music you were making with New Medicine, and now as a solo artist?
Jake Rose: My Dad was my biggest musical influence. He was my hero growing up, playing his guitar and singing songs! I was hooked since I can remember walking. My Dad’s favorite band ever is Lynyrd Skynyrd. His band played a ton of their stuff so as a young boy, I grew up thinking, that songs like “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Gimmie Three Steps” were my Dad’s songs!! Lol!! I grew up on almost nothing but classic rock, southern rock and country. We had country radio playing in the truck, the tractor, the workshop, all the time wherever we were, that was the soundtrack. When I got a little older I discovered Nirvana and that led me down a path of rock n roll! I loved how different Nirvana was but with such an amazing focus on great songwriting and melodic sense. They had such incredible energy, I granted towards that. When I played in a rock band I always felt like my band stuck out a bit but I’ve always prided myself on being different. I think my songs don’t fit in a certain category of country but my songs are truly authentic and genuine and that’s what country is all about to me.
R&B NYC: Speaking of New Medicine (if you’re cool talking about it!), it’s been quite the transition into the Jake Rose behind the new 2018 Family EP. As a huge fan of rock music growing up, too, I can totally see the similarities between amped-up rock music and acoustically-polished country. What in your mind makes these genres similar yet distinct, and what has the transition been like in terms of writing and performing a new style of music?
JR: Yes totally cool to talk about it! I was very young when I was in New Medicine, I guess I was just in a different mental place in my life, young, frustrated, angry, angsty, full of wild energy. I got signed when I was 18 off music I wrote when I was 16 and 17 years old. Although even when I turned in songs to the label back then they always said “kinda sounds like a country song, can you make it more rock?” I grew up on country music and southern rock, it’s the soundtrack to my life. Tom Petty has to be one of my biggest influences. I think there is such a similarity between country and rock and these days the lines are blurred. The transition for me was just turning the gain knob down a little on the Marshall and not trying to mask any of my songs to be anything but honest stories from the heart!
R&B NYC: I’m sure the transition into the country scene doesn’t seem too unnatural for you given your childhood growing up on farmland in Minnesota. But on that note, I noticed you cut your hair recently! Has your fashion changed at all going from playing punk rock a few years back into now performing more mainstream country?
JR: Yeah I had the long hair for just a minute, mostly always had short hair though 🙂 Working on the farm having long hair is a pain in the butt!!! Ha! I would say just like the music part, I feel like I can truly be myself in country and embrace who I am and where I’m from. I’m blue jeans, t-shirt and boots and flannel kinda guy. It’s how I was raised and what makes me feel comfortable in my own skin, I think I fit right in 🙂
R&B NYC: Listening to New Medicine, I can almost hear some of the songs fitting perfectly in an acoustic setting once the rhythm section is pulled back and the studio production is muted. What are the parallels, if any, between the music you were writing before, and what you’ve been writing recently?
JR: I would say the parallels between the two are I’ve always tried to come at things from my own angle. I try to write unique songs that I only I could sing. New Medicine always stuck out and I think the Jake Rose songs stick out as well. I try to have a blend of songs as well, not everything sounding the same with the same subjects, I try to keep it diverse and fresh.
R&B NYC: Tell me about the Family EP, which we’re all eagerly awaiting. What can we expect, and what are some of your inspirations behind the album? Is there a specific track that you’re particularly excited about?
JR: The inspirations behind this are super easy because they are so autobiographical and honest to my life. Sleeves is about every one of my tattoos and the story of why I got them. Favor is an autobiographical story of a past relationship and how it went south, with absolutely nothing made up about it. I Will is a song I wrote when I was in the throws of a serious relationship and wanting to show my girl how I would always be there for her. Family is the song I’m most excited about releasing because it is an anthem about my friends being like family to me. It’s just how I am, if we become friends, I consider you family, I have a special bond with my friends and I’m adding new ones everyday. It also goes for my fans of my music who many of whom have becoming friends of mine over the years. I always try and remember folks in different cities and treat them as a family friend. Family has all sorts of references of my real friends in my life, Brady, Nick, Dan, these are all real characters!
R&B NYC: I know that throughout your stay in Nashville you’ve written songs for enormously-influential artists like Keith Urban, among others. What’s it like to have an artist like that cut one of your tracks?
JR: To hear Keith Urban sing one of my songs was super special to me. I’ve been a fan of his for so long and then to hear him singing a hook I wrote on a song was surreal. Had to pinch myself a little there. I also got to write a song with Kid Rock recently and he came over to my apartment and sang vocals in my living room. Now THAT was cool. My 13 year old Devil Without a Cause fan came out HARD hahah! The experience is always awesome to hear someone cut one of your songs, I’m truly lucky and grateful every time it happens.
R&B NYC: Now for the fun stuff: Having spanned both the rock and now country genres, I have to ask: if you could choose one artist to open for and one venue to play, what would be your dream gig?
JR: Dream gig would be opening for Kenny Chesney at Target Field. He’s always been my biggest and current musical hero. He sets the absolute bar as to what I want to strive for and accomplish as an artist. He has created his own lifestyle and culture, he fought from being an underdog for many years, he plays STADIUMS, he has great songs, he has his own liquor!!! He’s the man. Target Field because that’s about as big as it gets in my home town of the Twin Cities!
R&B NYC: If you could give one piece of advice to young musicians feeling like they don’t necessarily fit into a certain genre and want to experiment with more than one style of music, what would it be?
JR: Do it!!! The rule book has been thrown out the window!!! The beautiful thing about the changing musical culture is that, anyone can put up anything on Spotify or online and the FANS get to choose what they like! Genre’s lines are so blurred now and I love it. I think it’s how we get such fresh artists like Sam Hunt who was SO different for everyone at first but the fans chose him, and now he is a standard.
R&B NYC: Being from Minnesota, I’m creatively assuming you like ice skating and hockey. Did you ever give it a run on the ice when you were younger?
JR: I did skate a bit and played pond hockey a lot growing up, I actually was a wrestler and a football player though as my main sports until high school when I picked up the guitar and writing songs 🙂 We are the hockey state though! My high school actually won the State Championship in hockey this year, pretty cool. Now my allegiance is split between the Minnesota Wild and Nashville Preds, gonna be a fun playoffs!
R&B NYC: I’m super curious to know what growing up on a pumpkin farm was like around Halloween time. Was this the best time of the year for younger Jake or perhaps the worst?
JR: HA! Good question. I look back on it as the best times of my life. I LOVE Fall still. It reminds me of harvesting, the weather is amazing, the trees turning, spending so much time with my family, hunting, fishing, it’s a great time of year. I still go back to the farm every year and help out for a few weeks and get my hands dirty, drive the tractor and plow the fields, there is something therapeutic about it for me. Of course as a young boy having to work my tail off picking pumpkins in 80 degree weather, there was some times I was NOT the biggest fan, but overall I loved it and wouldn’t have it any other way.
R&B NYC: What’s the ideal weekend for you when you’re not working or touring? What you do enjoy doing in your free time?
JR: Man I love hanging with my lady, maybe go somewhere we haven’t tried for dinner on a Friday night, so many amazing new restaurants in Nashville! Meeting up with my friends, having a house party hang, going out and getting outside, if there is a boat and water involved even better! Sunday’s I usually love to just relax and take it easy, if it’s nice out do something outside, if it’s raining, maybe a nice Netflix binge day 🙂
R&B NYC: Finally, the signature R&B question: I know I can’t ask you which tattoo is your favorite, so I’m going to ask if you have an absolute favorite pair of shoes. They can be your current favorite or your all-time favorite, a specific brand, a general style, just anything that you can’t leave the house without having on your feet!
JR: Easy, I have a new pair of leather Red Wing boots I LOVE. I grew up wearing Red Wing work boots on the farm my whole life before they were “cool” and Ryan Gosling started wearing them!! Ha! Red Wings are also made in Red Wing Minnesota about an hour from my house and where my sister got married. Fun fact, we all wore Red Wing boots with our suits in the wedding. 🙂