The album is really about love lost yet, in your case, love so quickly found. If your life hadn’t taken the dramatic turns that it’s taken in the last year, what would your tenth album sound like? 

Man, it would probably be sucky. Ah, I mean, it would probably be, y’know, I don’t know. I don’t know that I would’ve made, I probably wouldn’t be releasing another album yet if it hadn’t had been for, y’know, all the ups and downs of the last year. It was just like of all of a sudden - It’s weird, when you, I don’t know, everybody probably has something they do whenever they get into a low spot or a dark place, and also when things are extra good. And for me, it’s music. I mean, that’s what I do. And so I have a song that I can relate to for the happiest times in my life and the saddest times in my life. Also I like to make music at those times.

It’s such a country thing, y’know. There’s that idea of whatever’s going on in your life, you can -

Sing about it.

You look at the tracks on 'If I’m Honest'. I mean, it’s - She’s Got A Way With Words, Bet You Still Think About Me, Everytime I Hear That Song. I mean, obviously, the duet with Gwen, Go Ahead and Break My Heart. So much of this stuff is such rich material. It’s got to be almost weird that you’re at the crappiest point in your life but in the back of your mind, you know it’s going to yield good for your professional career. What other business does it work like that? 

Right. It doesn’t. 

I don’t know. Maybe if you’re like a hitman. Like if you’re feeling bad, it feels good to go out and get your job done that day, y’know.


Are you finding it more comfortable to be in LA?

Well, I’ve got a girlfriend here now, so…

Well, that helps.

There is that.


Speaking of your girlfriend, I’ve noticed since you’ve been with Gwen, you started driving yourself a lot more now. What is with that? 

Well, it’s just, I don’t think it’s very manly to be like, ‘Oh, you want me to come over right now? Okay, let me call a driver.’ It’s way better if I can just, y’know, cruise up in my Nissan Ultima.

She’s having a very good, positive effect on you.

Yeah.

They say opposites attract. That’s certainly the case here. Just give me thirty seconds on Go Ahead and Break My Heart, which, y’know, as you well know, when you guys did the duet on the show, I mean, even the staff watching you do the dress rehearsal, obviously the audience, gets to see, y’know, your sort of undeniable connection with this lovely young lady, which is your own business so I’m not going to go there. But tell me a little bit about the song and how it came together.

Well, last year, I think it was last Fall, sometime at the beginning of the Fall, I sat down one day and I started writing this song. Because she and I were, even though we were, y’know, beginning this relationship, were having some trust issues with each other because of what we had been through. And you kinda get to a point where you’re like, ‘Man, am I really going to do this again already?’ You know what I mean. ‘But it is happening.’ And so I wrote the song, basically I think I was just trying to impress her, just to show her that I too can write songs, Gwen. 

Watch this.

And so - But the song was about, y’know, I know this isn’t going to work out and you’re just gonna hurt me, so why don’t you go ahead and just get it over with now. Was the idea. Because of what we had been through. And so I sent her the song about halfway written. Actually, it was the first verse and the chorus. And I sent it to her just on Voice Memo, and about two days later, she sent back the song and she had finished the song from her point of view. And it was like, Woah. That is nuts. I mean, we wrote a song together just on, like, text. And we just sang it for friends and family and stuff a few times and everybody seemed to like it so - I never saw this kinda reaction coming. And of course I know a lot of it has to do with just the circus that’s around us all the time with the media and stuff, but still, I’m very proud.

Well, a great sounding song is still a great song. If the song had sucked, the circus might’ve held it up a little bit in the press but then it just would’ve gone by the wayside. But it stands on its own. It’s a great song. It’s one of the better songs on the album.

Wow. Thank you, buddy.

I just played it in its entirety. It’ll be your one Top 40 spin.

Yay. Woo hoo.

Thank you very much. Do you know what ska music is?

Uh, I do now. I do now. And it’s like a - It’s not reggae but it’s a little bit reggae and rock mixed with some horns and you gotta have a - You must have a hot girl singing lead. You know, one of those things. 

Were you a fan of No Doubt?

Well, I guess I was. I didn’t -

Can you name three No Doubt songs?

Well, that’s easy now. So: Don’t Speak, Hey Baby, Hella Good. 

Wow. Nice.

I meant to - Let me explain myself, Carson. What I was saying was of course I knew all those songs. I just didn’t know that it was No Doubt that sang them. You know, some songs are so big, I don’t care if you live in the jungle, you’re aware of. Me being a country artist from the middle of nowhere, their music was big, y’know, and so it’s like of course I knew those songs and loved them. But I didn’t know who sang them. I told her I thought Hey Baby - This happened two months ago, I swear to god. Two months ago, Hey Baby came on the radio and Gwen said something like, “Oh, that’s wild. I haven’t heard that in a while.” And she said, “You know, we won a Grammy for this song.” And I said, “That’s y’all? That’s you?”

“That’s y’all.”

Cos I literally thought that was like TLC.

It’s amazing you’re still together.

And Gwen’s so sweet, she goes, “Yeah, I guess I can see where you would think that.”

Oh, she’s so good. That is hilarious. That’s good stuff, man.