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Jerrod Niemann is a new name, old hand in country music

of the Oakland Press

Posted: Friday, May 13, 2011

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Jerrod Niemann is country music’s hottest new nonnewcomer.

Niemann had a No. 1 album in 2010 with “Judge Jerrod & the Hung Jury,” which spawned the No. 1 hit “Lover, Lover” and the Top 5 “What Do You Want.” It was his first major-label release, but comes after more than a decade in Nashville that includes two-self released albums and writing songs for Garth Brooks, Jamey Johnson, Neal McCoy, Julie Roberts, John Anderson and others.

“I’ve really been through the ringer a few times,” Niemann, 31, says of the struggle to establish himself as a recording artist. “Sometimes you’ve got to get your foot in the door and try to take any opportunity you can.

“I’m just glad to be at a point in my life where I can make some music that people can hear and react to and sing along to. Now I’m just trying to spread the word.”

But Niemann says he quickly realized what having an audience meant — and was somewhat intimidated by the process at first.

“The one emotion I didn’t think I’d feel from all this — and it’s almost cliché to talk about — is that everybody’s struggling. We’ve all got things we’ve got to pay for and all that,” says the Kansas native, who’s already working on his next album. “So when people are kind enough to buy our music, it’s like, ‘Holy crap, there’s actually people listening!’ Or if they show up at a show, ‘Wow, there’s people listening!’

“That’s where you get excited, inspired and want to be better musicians, producers, performers. People, besides your parents, give a crap now.”

Jerrod Niemann performs at 8:35 p.m. Friday, May 13, at the WYCD Downtown Hoedown in Detroit's Hart Plaza. Admission is free. Visit www.wycd.com for information and schedules.

Web Site: www.wycd.com

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