Jerrod Niemann scored big with his debut single, 'Lover, Lover,' from his first album, 'Judge Jerrod & the Hung Jury.' The tune went straight to No. 1, while its follow-up track, 'What Do You Want' made it all the way to No. 4 on the charts. With such early success, most artists would be scared of the dreaded sophomore slump. Good thing Jerrod isn't most artists.

"I'm challenging myself," the singer/songwriter tells Billboard. "I'm going to take more chances musically, just instrumentation and textures and some of these things I'm working on, clear down to the microphone we use. There's going to be a lot of vintage instruments and things like that."

The new album, which he hopes to be ready by next summer, will be very "harmony driven and groove-driven, a lot of partying stuff on there, too," he notes. But even with at least a year of waiting ahead of him, he certainly isn't wasting time now.

"I never quit recording, whether it's just with an acoustic guitar or a piano," explains the Kansas native. "I'm always recording stuff. I have several songs started already and a lot of ideas I'm looking forward to working on."

With his creative juices flowing, the singer-songwriter, who has penned songs for Garth Brooks, Jamey Johnson, Neal McCoy and several others, says his latest single, 'One More Drinking Song,' was a direct result of realizing that not everyone would appreciate his style of music.

"I was playing all these bars, so I kept writing these partying songs," he says of his current catalog. "The lady who runs my publishing company sent me an e-mail that said, 'all these songs are cute,' or whatever, 'but no one else is recording that kind of music right now, so maybe you can dig a little deeper for subject matter.'

"She was looking for something for one of the female acts, but for a while there I couldn't think of anything," he continues. "So I wrote 'One More Drinkin' Song' and e-mailed it to her. I never got a response; the next time I saw her I asked if her server was down."

The tunesmith began writing with good friends Jamey Johnson and Randy Houser long before any of them were famous. But while they now are each enjoying their own successful careers, Jerrod says they still have a hand in each other's music.

"I still write with them," he assures. "We kind of know at the beginning whose song it's going to be. If Randy says, 'Hey, I have this idea. Would you help me finish it?' I know it's his song and I just try to help finish what he has to say. And he does the same for me. But mostly I'm just going to hang on to stuff now. You never know if it could be the song that elevates your career or sustains it, so you don't want to just give it away anymore."

He may be a long time away from his new album, but his hands are far from idle. The 31-year-old is busy writing a musical involving time machines, alcohol and cheerleaders. "It's pretty funny," Jerrod tells The Boot. "It will take a while, but I'm going to record it someday like an album for fun and then do it live. It's all based on the earth banishing alcohol, and me and my friends time-travel to save alcohol ... I mean to save earth, of course. [laughs] And our time machine is a stretch limo pickup truck with a hot tub in the back with six cheerleaders. It's true. You think, 'How can a musical work in this day and age?' That's how. As long as you have the cheerleaders, you're golden. Cheerleaders and moonshine -- that's all you need in a musical. Broadway, here we come. Sundance? Line's busy. Call back later. [laughs] I would love to do that."

Jerrod is also hitting the road with his boss, Sea Gayle record label owner Brad Paisley, on his H2O II: Wetter & Wilder World tour next month. Keep track of his concert schedule here.

A Day in the Life of Jerrod Niemann

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