Thomas Rhett Breaks Down Barriers With Sophomore Album
Thomas Rhett made country music history when all three of the singles from his freshman album, It Goes Like This, became No.1 hits, marking the first time in 20 years that a solo male country artist has had such repetitive chart success from a freshman album.
The album's title track along with "Get Me Some of That" and "Make Me Wanna" may have been hits, but Rhett is already looking forward.
The singer-songwriter just released the debut single, "Crash and Burn," from his upcoming sophomore record. The tune has a bluesy, soulful feeling -- an entirely different sound from anything on It Goes Like This. While some may see that as a risky gamble, Rhett says he's just following his instincts.
"It’s been a really cool journey, especially on this last record," Rhett told The Boot and other reporters at a recent media event. "And following this journey we’re going on with the second record, with songs like ‘Crash,’ and some of the songs that are like that on the second album. It’s just a lot of fun for me, whether it’s a song that’s a deep emotional love ballad, or it’s a song like ‘Crash,’ or something like that, I get pure joy from singing those songs, when I record them or play them live."
Chris Stapleton and Jesse Frasure co-wrote "Crash and Burn," which Rhett says intrigued him before he really even heard the song's message.
"The first time I listened to that song, I didn’t even listen to the words," Rhett recalled. "The music just entranced me so much that I was jamming to the music. The more times I listened to it, the more I realized how sad the song was. So if you go back to the ‘50s and ‘60s, there were a lot of those songs that had those great, amazing, feel-good melodies, with such a sad ‘she broke my heart’ lyric. I think that is the thing that kind of drew me to ‘Crash and Burn’ in the first place."
The 25-year-old hasn't shared a title or a release date for the upcoming album, but he does say there will be an eclectic collection on the new project, including a song he wrote for his wife, Lauren.
"There’s a very wide variety of stuff on the album," Rhett revealed. "There’s a lot of stuff I’ve never done before, with ‘Crash’ definitely being one of them. There’s a song there called ‘If I Could Die a Happy Man.’ I’ve written love songs before, but I’ve never written a ‘Just to See You Smile’ love song, if that makes any sense. Lauren always [asked], ‘Why don’t you write one of those sweet, old-school Tim McGraw love songs?’ And it’s not really a Tim McGraw song, but it’s the most relateable love song I’ve ever written about my wife in my whole life."
Rhett says he is also revealing more of himself on the new album, which he can do because he places so much trust in his fans.
"It’s going to be really cool to show a little bit more of my vulnerable side on the record," he says. "The party songs have gotten, they’re pretty left field. They’re so much fun and they make you feel so good. Say for example, I put ‘Crash’ out, and it literally crashed and burned. Then that would probably change some things. But ... it looks like fans are loving it and radio’s responding to it, so it makes my gut feel good, knowing my gut was decently on the right path."
Even with Rhett's success, which includes two platinum-selling singles, an ACM Award nomination for Best New Artist, and an opening slot with both Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan this year, the Georgia native says he is still the same person he has always been on the inside, but his artistry is getting much stronger.
"I’ve evolved a little bit," he acknowledged. "If you went to my show two years ago and you went to my show today, I feel like you’d see two different people. Just from doing so many shows, you start to get comfortable with people, and you start to go over things on stage.
"Your voice gets stronger, and you start cutting different songs," he continued. "I would say [I have] less fear, to be on stage compared to two years ago, more coming into my own. I’ve started to figure out the artist I am."
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