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When Jake Owen released his new album, Days of Gold, earlier this week, the good-timing singer made sure to temper the party by including one song in particular: the sobering piano ballad “What We Ain’t Got.” The poignant track addresses what’s missing from people’s lives, or at least what they think might be missing.
“It has to come out at some point. It’s the kind of song that will help my career tremendously, but I think it will hopefully help country music. Just to where other artists will know that it’s OK that radio will play songs—hopefully—like that, to where they’ll start recording really great songs again,” says Jake, who admits that today’s country songs can be a little too superficial.
“I don’t mean to sound negative. I love country music right now, it’s awesome. But I’m guilty of it, too. We all have songs that we’re tending to put out because they’re working and it’s helping our careers. But songs like ‘The Thunder Rolls’ or John Michael Montgomery’s ‘Life’s a Dance,’ they were songs that meant something to people. You don’t hear a lot of those songs anymore. The last time I heard a song that had a lot of meaning and sounded like a country song was Craig Morgan’s ‘Almost Home.’
“People were like, that’s real,” Jake continues. “There are so many songs now, and I have them, too, that are [about] sunshine, blue eyes, a tan. That’s not always real to everyone all the time. Or passing moonshine jars around. People do that when they’re kids, but people also grow up. . . . It’s important to have all kinds of songs.”