High Noon is Niemann’s third album for Arista Nashville (he also recorded two independently released albums early in his career). And lead single “Drink to That All Night” is already grabbing attention (and radio spins), thanks to its catchy chorus and engaging beats, which take cues from electronic dance music (EDM) but at the same time keep the overall experience between the honky-tonk fenceposts. Written by Derek George, Lance Miller and Brad and Brett Warren, the song is sitting solidly in the country Top 10 and threatening to climb even higher.
Both the song and its accompanying video feel more like Pitbull than anything George Jones ever cut, but that’s obviously a deliberate move. As Niemann says at the start of the video, “I’m ready for something a little different.”
Niemann cowrote eight of the 13 songs on High Noon, and he also coproduced the album with Jimmie Lee Sloas.
“We’ve been friends for years,” Niemann said of Sloas, “and I knew he wanted to get into producing. I called him out of the blue, we had lunch a few times, and I told him I’d love to bring him in to work on this project. We went in and instantly had a great connection.”
Niemann made a big splash with his 2010 album Judge Jerrod & the Hung Jury, which earned him a strong fan base thanks to hits like “One More Drinkin’ Song,” “What Do You Want” and his No. 1 “Lover, Lover.” He followed with Free the Music in 2012, which included “Shinin’ on Me” and “Only God Could Love You More.”
“Drink to That All Night” is the first taste fans have gotten so far of new album High Noon, and it shows Niemann is taking his music in bold new directions.
“On my first two albums, I tried to cover all the music I enjoy,” Niemann said. “This time, we mashed it all together and that’s what you do when you’re really attempting to create your own sound. And as it all gelled, I think it brought us into our own pure sound for the first time.”
“My biggest obstacle,” he continued, “was to make sure this sounded different from everything else out there right now.”
He also aimed for a positive vibe. As he explained to CBS Charlotte’s The New 103.7, “It seems there’s bad news any time you turn on the TV, so I always say when I want to hear good news I turn on country radio. So I tried to make an album that reflects that.”
On his website, he explained how he decided on the album title and his thoughts on his adversaries:
“High Noon is a term that’s been in my mind since I was a kid. Growin’ up in Southwest Kansas, I actually lived in Dodge City, Kansas, where the old gunfighting days have such a historical value. I mean, Wyatt Earp is the main street, and high noon, if you think of it, it’s always meeting your adversary at noon, and goin’ out there, walkin’ a few steps, and turn around and face what you’re most afraid of, right then and there. So for me, every time any of us make a journey in our life for whatever we’re tryin’ to do–in this case makin’ music–I just think, ‘okay, my adversaries are party poopers, and I’m about to face that so that all of us can have a great time,’ hopefully, listening to this record.”
Neimann has promoted the upcoming album with some fun interactive online videos as well that play on the album’s western theme. “I hate to even call [the video] a western, because I think of The Outlaw Josey Wales and other great flicks, and this certainly shouldn’t be in the category with them,” he told The New 103.7, laughing. “High noon, traditionally in a western, that’s when the good guy and bad guy go out, and they battle it out, guns a-blazin’. So this is similar, but instead it’s a drink to the death.” Niemann and the station crew all cracked up laughing. “As you can imagine, it’s just about as immature as it sounds,” Niemann said. Watch an except from the video below:
In all seriousness, though, Niemann’s album High Noon will hit stores March 25. And this summer, he will be on the road as part of Keith Urban’s Raise ‘Em Up Tour.
High Noon track listing:
02. Buzz Back Girl
03. Drink to That All Night
04. I Can’t Give in Anymore
05. We Know How to Rock
06. Come On, Come On
07. Lucky #7
09. Day Drinkin’
10. The Real Thing
11. Beach Baby
13. She’s Fine (featuring Colt Ford)