Nick Jonas, Thomas Rhett and the Power of Three Chords

Their CMT Crossroads Collaboration Premieres Friday (June 24) at 10 p.m. ET/PT

It’s a big week for Nick Jonas, whose new album Last Year Was Complicated, just debuted at No. 2 on the all-genres Billboard 200 chart. And it’s a big week for Jonas and his friend Thomas Rhett because their new episode of CMT Crossroads will premiere Friday (June 24) at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

One of the underlying messages of CMT Crossroads is that singers, songwriters and musicians tend to be influenced by a wide swath of sounds and styles. That truth is particularly evident in the Jonas/Rhett collaboration that was taped recently in Nashville.

“I think for my sound, my roots are kind of in soul, R&B and pop,” Jonas told CMT’s Cody Alan prior to the Crossroads concert. “But my dad is from North Carolina — country boy and loves country music — and raised us on a lot of great country music, as well. So it was a big part of the Jonas Brothers sound — harmonies — and we were a guitar-driven band, so it was always in there, and I just got a love for country music.”

“When people ask me what made me fall in love with country music in the first place, besides the fact that my dad introduced it to me first, it was like ‘three chords and the truth,’ and I felt like that’s what it’s been for a long time,” Rhett said. “It was cool to hear Nick’s stories on how he wrote certain songs, especially ‘Chainsaw’ and ‘Jealous.’ He was like, ‘Hey, should you play guitar on ‘Chainsaw’? I was like, ‘Yeah, are the chords easy?’ He was like, ‘Yeah, we wrote it in three chords. It’s easy.’

“So I think one of the biggest similarities in Crossroads is that, obviously, I’m a country singer and he is a pop singer, but I think one of the biggest things that we have in common is the personalized lyric choice, if you will. He writes from his heart, I write from my heart, and when you play songs from your heart, to me, there is no genre. It’s just like, this is a good song or this is a bad song.”