Jake Owen Talks New Album, Summertime Music and Borrowing From Willie Nelson

"I know what I like, and I know what people have liked from me. But I also like ... to try some new stuff that's not too outside the box."

 Jake Owen declared he never wanted to grow up or slow down in his signature hit "Barefoot Blue Jean Night." More than a decade after the song came out and rejuvenated his career, Owen admits his life looks a bit different. He's now dad to two daughters, Pearl, 10, and Paris, 4. He's still the water-loving golfer he's always been; Owen just wakes up much earlier these days. The Florida native said he's out of bed by 5 a.m. most days to give himself a couple of hours to get his head on straight before Paris gets up for the day. 

Owen sits under a large umbrella on a rooftop in Napa, California. He's excited about his new album and has been up since 3 a.m. His body clock is messed up in the Pacific time zone, and he was the first in line at the coffee shop that morning. 

"My narrative has changed throughout the years," Owen said. "I went from a young guy (who was) never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down to like, growing up and not necessarily slowing down, but just like finding more purpose in the day-to-day. Sometimes I think it's interesting to incorporate that into my music." 

Owen announced plans this week to release his seventh studio album – "Loose Cannon" – on June 23. Four new songs – "On The Boat Again," "Solo, Solo," "Nothing," and "Hot Truck Beer" – will be out Friday. Owen's current song "My Boots Miss Yours" isn't on the album.

"It's just a good mix of songs," Owen said. "At this point in my life and career, I know what I like, and I know what people have liked from me through many years. But I also like the opportunity as an artist to try some new stuff that's not too outside the box."

"Loose Cannon" is 16 songs deep, and Owen wrote none of them. However, fans will find familiar names, including Willie Nelson, Walker Hayes, Jordan Davis and Devin Dawson in the credits. The album is his first in more than four years and the follow-up to "Greetings From…Jake."

Lounging on the rooftop couch with the sun high overhead, Owen admitted he enjoyed the time off from writing songs. He said he's "never enjoyed the aspect of" cramming songwriting into his time off the road. After all, he's a dad now. Instead, he chose to stay open to outside songs and couldn't be happier with what he found. "My Boots Miss Yours" isn't indicative of "Loose Cannon" – he just thought it was a fun song to share before playing his summer concert dates. He might be most excited about "On The Boat Again," a summertime take on Nelson's classic "On The Road Again."

He quoted the lyrics, saying: This job that I'm working, it's hard on one person the way with that sun is shining like it is| So I'm punching the time clock| I'm gonna swim through the gridlock and sit as long as I need to sit| To get out on the boat again| Oh I just can't wait to get on the boat again| The life I love is drinking cold beers with my friends| I can't wait to get on the boat again.

"One thing I think I've missed over the last few years is not giving country radio the songs that they really like," Owen said. "I think they're waiting for me to give them another summer Jake Owen song that feels good. They're like, 'Yes, this is you.' That's what this 'On The Boat Again' thing is."

"Loose Cannon" tracklist: 

“Hot Truck Beer” (Jordan Fletcher, Jim McCormick, Austin Nivarel)

“Go Getter” (Brent Cobb, Jake Mitchell, Aaron Ratiere)

“Solo Solo” (Ashley Gorley, Ben Johnson, Blake Pendergrass, Hunter Phelps)

“On The Boat Again” (Willie Nelson, Devin Dawson, Kyle Fishman, Rocky Block, Blake Pendergrass)

“Hearts and Habits” (Thomas Archer, Jamie Moore, Jared Mullins, Ben Stennis)

“When It All Shakes Out” (Jacob Davis, Jordan Dozzi, Josh Jenkins)

“Hope Less” (Jared Mullins, Ben Stennis)

“It Don't, He Won't and You Do” (Jordan Dozzi, Justin Ebach, Chase McGill)

“Friends Don't Let Friends” (Jessie Jo Dillon, Hunter Phelps, Ben Stennis)

“Boy In The Chevrolet” (Ashley Gorley, Taylor Phillips, Bobby Pinson)

“Shrank” (Lalo Guzman, Walker Hayes, Hunter Phelps)

“Nothing” (Dallas Davidson, Kyle Fishman, Earle Hagen, Reid Haughton, Herbert Spencer, Cole Taylor)*

“Somewhere South With Rum” (Jacob Davis, Jordan Davis, Josh Jenkins, Matt Jenkins)

“The Ending” (Rodney Clawson, Luke Laird, Chris Tompkins)

“Hey Can I Buy You A Beer” (John Byron, Rocky Block, Travis Wood)

“Loose Cannon” (Matt Roy)

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