with special guest Jordan Fletcher
Brooklyn Bowl Nashville
925 3rd Avenue North
Nashville, Tennessee 37201
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ALL SALES ARE FINAL
On her 2020 breakthrough album The Dream, the singer-songwriter wrote about escaping her hometown of Shueyville, Iowa, to pursue stardom in Nashville. It was a fantasy record at first, full of far-off plans, hopes, and dreams. But it soon became Hailey’s reality — she signed a label deal with Big Loud/Songs & Daughters, went on tour with Luke Combs and Midland, and made her first of many appearances on the Grand Ole Opry.
The Dream and its deluxe reissue Living the Dream earned critical acclaim from The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Garden & Gun, and Stereogum, and Hailey racked up 75 million global artist streams. She also became a Grammy-nominated songwriter for “A Beautiful Noise,” her collaboration with Brandi Carlile, Alicia Keys, and Brandy Clark.
In the midst of that whirlwind, Hailey found herself reconnecting with her Midwestern roots. Shueyville was always in the back of her mind and the memories she made there — getting her first kiss; partying in the cornfields; gathering for Sunday supper — started to shape her writing. Over the past two years, she channeled those memories into her new album, Raised.
Released via Songs & Daughters and Hailey’s own Pigasus Records, Raised is the sound of Hailey Whitters going home.
“It’s been 14 years since I’ve lived in Iowa, but more and more I’ve been going back there mentally and being pulled to the people and the places that raised me,” she says. “With The Dream, I was starting to turn that corner back home, but this record went straight there. If The Dream were my wings, then Raised is my roots.”
Hailey reunited with producer Jake Gear and engineer Logan Matheny for Raised and also joined Gear as co-producer. The result is an LP that is rich in folksy turns of phrase, sharp yet inventive in its musicianship, and teeming with unvarnished honesty.
“If you're listening to The Dream, I think you hear a girl hanging on. She's had her heart broken, but she's finding a way to persevere and to keep going,” Hailey says. “And when you listen to Raised, you hear what gave her that strength.”
Made up of 17 tracks, Raised is full of expertly crafted country songs and quirky sonic excursions. The orchestral piece “Ad Astra Per Alas Porci” (Latin for “To the stars on the wings of a pig,” Hailey’s motto) bookends the album. There’s also a piano “Interlude” at the record’s midsection and a skit titled “The Grassman” that introduces the song “Our Grass Is Legal,” a salute to a straight-and-narrow family business that was accustomed to shady phone calls.
Family is a recurring theme throughout Raised. She sings about “bunk beds, matchin’ sheets and sharin’ the bathroom sink” in “Big Family” and reminisces about life events in “In a Field Somewhere.” On the surface, she sings about drinking in “Beer Tastes Better,” co-written with Lori McKenna. But it’s really a commentary about outgrowing home and trying in vain to recreate that sense of community.
“It's that bittersweet experience of walking back into your hometown bar,” she says. “It's like everything's changed, but nothing really has.”
Along with standouts like “Ten Year Town” and “Heartland,” The Dream gave Hailey a viral hit with “Janice at the Hotel Bar.” She delivers another superb character study on Raised with “Pretty Boy.” “That song unveils some of the darker sides and shadows of masculinity,” she says. “Where I've grown up, boys are supposed to be tough, aren't supposed to cry. But as I've gotten older, I've realized that a man's ability to show emotion, grief and sadness is a strength.”
Like Hailey herself, Raised is steeped in the culture of the Midwest. Musically, there are hints of early Alan Jackson, the Chicks and the king of heartland rock, John Mellencamp. But you needn’t have spent your formative years on a farm for Raised to speak to you.
“Raised is a celebration of the Midwest, but I think it's a common story no matter where you’re from,” Hailey says. “My experience growing up in the middle of the country is very relatable to a lot of people. We’ve all lived in a similar way — the only thing that’s different is the scenery.”
The Jacksonville-born and Nashville-based artist conveys his story with play-by-play urgency and intense attention to detail over authentic country spiked with rock spirit. You’ll get to know him not only as a songwriter, but also as a dad, a husband, a surfer, and a believer. After racking up millions of streams independently and canvasing the country with the likes of Muscadine Bloodline and Kip Moore, this approach defines a series of 2021 singles and his forthcoming full-length debut album for Triple Tigers.
“All of my songs are autobiographical,” he exclaims. “If I’m singing it, it’s got to be true. If you watched a childhood video of me on VHS, this is what you would see. I’m not making this shit up or shying away from what I believe. I’m telling my story.”
That story begins down in Jacksonville. Dad introduced him to Creedence Clearwater Revival, Eric Clapton, Rolling Stones, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. At the age of six, he picked up the drums before playing in church. When his father passed away, Jordan leaned on music more than ever at eleven-years-old, spinning Jack Johnson’s In Between Dreams on repeat.
“I had this little CD player with headphones, and I wore that thing out for the whole time my dad was sick,” he recalls. “I must’ve played it thousands of times. It was an emotional parachute. It was the first time I remember music being a necessity for me.”
He spent his high school years learning guitar, listening to reggae, and surfing as much as possible. After a few years in at University of North Florida, he dropped out, moved to Nashville, and immersed himself in music. “I was called,” he explains. “God was like, ‘Yo bro, your time is up in college’.”
He went from holding down drums in a buddy’s band to hitting the road with Muscadine Bloodline in 2018. He sold merch, drove the Sprinter van, and began to play for fifteen minutes a night. Eventually, he found himself with 30-minute and 45-minute slots. At the same time, he roughed it, sleeping in a 1986 Sunlite Truck Camper over the flatbed of his pickup and showering at Planet Fitness. “I offered the guy $500 for the camper, and it was so busted he gave it to me for $350,” he laughs. “Eventually, I sold it to another buddy for 15 pounds of elk meat!”
Muscadine passed down their Sprinter Van until someone ran a red light and t-boned Jordan and Co. on tour with Kip Moore in Cape Cod. “The passenger door wouldn’t open afterwards, so the entire band had to get in and out on the driver’s side for the rest of the tour,” he says. “It was the funniest thing ever.”
Along the way, he landed his first publishing deal with Sea Gayle Music and gained traction with early releases such as 2019’s “Miles To The Moon” and the 2020 favorite “Me On.” Simultaneously, he established himself as a sought-after writer behind-the-scenes, penning Riley Green’s “Better Than Me” [feat. Randy Owen] and Chris Bandi’s “Leave It To A Song.” One afternoon in 2020, he experienced a revelation. Following an ultrasound appointment for his wife, the couple sat in a restaurant as Bob Marley’s “Buffalo Soldier” blasted through the speakers.
“In the post-chorus, there are no words,” he observes. “I looked at my wife and said, ‘Bob Marley meant that shit. He said more in that post-chorus without a single word than I have in four years.’ It was a huge shift. My dad died when I was eleven, and I’m still asking people to tell me stories about him. If something were to happen to me, I don’t want my son to have to look far to figure out his life, career, and relationships. I want him to turn on one of my songs and get that. That’s why I write the way I do.”
Jordan got to writing again. Speaking straight from the heart, a new batch of demos landed him both management with Triple 8 and a record deal with Triple Tigers at the top of 2021. Among those songs, “Hometowns Don’t” hinges on rustic acoustic guitar as his gruff intonation ignites the heartfelt hook, “truck break down, girls break up, clocks run out, times get tough. Good dogs die, friends move on, the world’ll kick you round, chew you up and spit you out but hometowns don’t.”
“I’ve written so many songs about somebody else’s hometown or arbitrary places, but I never told a story about where I’m from,” he explains. “I always miss it and want to get back to the place that raised me. Nashville is a great home for my family, but Jacksonville has something nowhere else can give me.”
Meanwhile, he serenades his wife on “Still Those Kids,” celebrating their “love story” of eleven years since high school. Then, there’s “I Know You Are, But What Am I.” Over lush piano, he faces “one of those moments in a relationship where it feels like everything could go south” with unfiltered honesty.”In the end, Jordan’s truth might just feel familiar.
“This is a shared experience,” he leaves off. “When you listen to me, I hope you think, ‘This dude went through that? That makes me feel better’. I want my music to be therapeutic. I want to give you a soundtrack to your life, by giving you the soundtrack to mine.”