Everything We Know About Brett Eldredge’s New Album, ‘Illinois’
The new disc will follow up Bring You Back, Eldredge's 2013 debut album, which nabbed him three consecutive No. 1 hits: "Don't Ya," "Beat of the Music" and "Mean to Me."
“… I feel very fortunate to be in the position I am, and with this momentum and the success of the first album,” Eldredge says, “and I’m confident that I’m going to deliver my fans the best music possible on the second album.”
During the recording process, Eldredge says that he was "making the best music I've ever been a part of to date in the studio." That piece of news should make country fans extremely excited.
Below, The Boot has rounded up everything known about Illinois.
Eldredge is a native of the Midwestern state of Illinois. He hails from the small town of Paris, which sits 165 miles south of Chicago, and is proud of the roots that brought him to where he is today.
“It’s definitely a depth of who I am. That’s why I wanted to name the album Illinois,” he says. “… The roots of where you come from are always right there in your heart, and you carry all that along with you wherever you go, and that’s kind of who I am as a person and what I want that album to portray.”
Eldredge adds, “No matter how far you go in life, the place you come from and call home will always mean something dear. Starting with that as the title was important to me — these songs are all my story.”
The song "Illinois" is the seventh on Eldredge's 12-track record, and it was written with Tom Douglas and Brad Crisler, following a day driving around rural Illinois. However, it's just as relatable for fans who aren't from that state.
"It's about more than just being from Illinois; you can be from Texas, Utah, Tennessee ...," Eldredge explains. "Wherever you come from, it's always in your heart, and that's what I wanted to capture with this song."
The Release Date
The Record Label
Illinois will be released via Atlantic Nashville. Eldredge signed with the label in 2010 before releasing the hard-hitting "Raymond."
The cover of Illinois shows Eldredge, dressed in a purple-ish, dotted dress shirt, looking into the camera, against a slate backdrop.
The lead single from Illinois is "Lose My Mind," and in it, Eldredge taps into his inner Ray Charles, giving fans a look at his soulful side. Elredge is a longtime fan of Charles, and "Lose My Mind" is a country-friendly tune with an R&B vibe.
"I wanted to branch out and do something totally different than what I've been doing," he tells Rolling Stone. "It has a different vibe and a soulful kind of groove."
When he wrote "Lose My Mind" with Ross Copperman and Heather Morgan, Eldredge already had a groove in his head; in fact, it had kept him up the previous night.
"This groove was driving me nuts. And a relationship can be like that, too, when a person completely takes control of your thoughts, and you can’t do anything but think about them. It drives you completely crazy and makes you lose your mind," he says. “That’s what this song’s about. When you literally feel like you’re going crazy, but it’s because you’re so crazy about them and shows you how much you love them and you can’t get enough.”
And with a sleepless night and the help of fellow songwriters, a single was born.
Picking the album's songs was a labor of love for Eldredge, who listens to outside songs all the time, not just limiting himself to songs he penned. But for Illinois, he got on a songwriting roll and ended up co-writing every track on the record.
"I just got in a groove where it was really working," he says. "When lyrics come from you and your stories and your soul, they're even more believable sometimes."
After "Lose My Mind," Eldredge released "Fire" in early July. It's a high-energy song, and he's been kicking off his shows with it. The singer gets so into it, in fact, that by the end of it, he's already sweating -- and he hopes his fans are, too.
“Sometimes you get that connection with someone that is so on fire that it’s fun to watch everyone around you stop and stare,” Eldredge explains.
Eldredge has also shared another song, "Just a Taste," which is quite personal to him, stemming from a real-life experience.
“I was in this situation with this girl where I thought she was totally into it,” he recalls. “I thought, ‘Wow this might be the girl,’ but it turns out she was just going to give me just enough where I wanted her all the time before she left.”
The song is just as much a tease as Eldredge's lady was, and lyrically, it's top-notch: “Your lips pressed to my lips / In my mind, I keep replaying it / Over and over, but that time I found that / You’re my favorite flavor / But all you left me with was just a taste."
With "Raymond," Eldredge showed the country world he can do heartbreak songs with the best of them, and his new song "Lose It All" is a collaboration between "Raymond" co-writer Brad Crisler and Bill Anderson.
"I love to write heartbreak songs, because who hasn't been through that?" Eldredge asks (quote via Rolling Stone). "I love when my favorite singers sing about heartbreak, because it makes you feel like you're not the only one."
Another new tune, "I Wanna Be That Song," was sparked by an interview question at the Kansas Motor Speedway. A reporter asked, "What do you want to do with your music?" and Eldredge told co-writer Scooter Carusoe as he was walking on stage, "I wanna write a song called "I Wanna Be That Song."" Three months later, they sat down and penned it -- and it ended up being one of Eldredge's favorite songs he's ever written.
"I want to be that song that helps you through something, or that made you fall in love or made you want to dance," he explains.
And then there's Eldredge's collaboration with buddy Thomas Rhett. In mid-June, the two singers got the rumor mill churning when, in quick succession, they each posted an Instagram photo of themselves in the studio. Soon after, Rhett discussed the collaboration during a radio interview — but only in a hypothetical sense. But in an interview with Taste of Country in early August, Rhett confirmed that their collaboration, “You Can’t Stop Me,” will be on Eldredge’s upcoming Illinois album, which is set for release on Sept. 11. Amazon’s track listing for Illinois lists “You Can’t Stop Me” as the second track on the new record.
On Aug. 18, Eldredge used Snapchat to reveal Illinois' full track listing.
Brett Eldredge, Illinois Track Listing:
2. "You Can’t Stop Me"
3. "Lose My Mind"
4. "Wanna Be That Song"
5. "Time Well Spent"
6. "If You Were My Girl"
8. "Just a Taste"
9. "Drunk on Your Love"
10. "Lose It All"
12. "Going Away for a While"
Ross Copperman and Brad Crisler co-produced the album with Eldredge. He describes his producing style as "fresh" to Rolling Stone Country, saying, "I like when you capture something during the moment of inspiration."
And inspiration strikes even when there are no instruments around. Eldredge reveals, "So we'll use some of the vocals from the day we wrote the song. And a lot of the guitar parts are what I just sing to Ross, and Ross knows exactly what I want. I'll even beat-box to him, or I'll pick up a stapler from his desk and jokingly make percussion, and he'll record the stapler. Luckily, Ross doesn't think I'm crazy. He's so brilliant in the studio, it freaks me out a little."
Illinois will show off Eldredge's transformed sound, as displayed in "Lose My Mind."
Taylor Swift was an inspiration for the record's contents, although it isn't because Eldredge is pining after the superstar. He toured with her in 2013, on Swift's Red Tour, and was deeply inspired by the forthrightness in her songs.
"I remember when she'd be talking about some guy that did her wrong, and she'd call him out in a song and be honest with it — just say it, not scared. And if she'd fallen in love, she'd straight out say it, too," he recalls. "People love and accept her for that. Honesty in her music is her most important thing.
"That's what I've learned, to make my records sound like my own thing ...," Eldredge continues. "You can find yourself [asking], 'Am I writing this song because this is what I’m supposed to say, or am I writing this song because this is what I want to say?' Just write what is truthful to you."
Of course, the inspiration of the album is also rooted in Eldredge's love for Illinois -- and its fingerprints are all over the record.
Brett Eldredge's Best Instagram Pictures