Jason Michael Carroll: Staying Young

Jason Michael Carroll may sing about getting older, but his kids make sure he still knows how to have fun.

Jason Michael Carroll may not be very far into his recording career, but he’s already learned a valuable lesson—put the best songs you can find on your albums, no matter who wrote them. He did that with his first CD, Waitin’ in the Country, which debuted at No. 1 in February 2007 and produced, as Jason says, “Two top fives and a top seventeen!” with “Alyssa Lies,” “Livin’ Our Love Song” and “I Can Sleep When I’m Dead,” respectively. While Jason did have a hand in writing five tunes on that album, he knew Nashville is a town with the best songwriters in the world, so why not take advantage of that?

And he’s done it again with his sophomore CD, Growing Up Is Getting Old, out April 28 and including 3 songs with Jason’s name on them, plus 7 written by other writers. We recently sat down for a chat with Jason about his music and his family life. Here’s some of what he had to say.

For more about Jason, pick up the May 4 issue of Country Weekly.

CW
I saw your picture with Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes. I’m guessing, being from North Carolina, you didn’t grow up an ice hockey fan. How long have you liked it?
JMC
We didn’t have hockey growin’ up. But the first year the Hurricanes came to town in their new stadium RBC Center, I was one of the people that made every home game that year. Bought the twenty dollar tickets to sit up in the nosebleed section. And the whole first period—this may be wrong—we didn’t really pay much attention to the game. We’d look down on the lower two levels to see where the empty seats were. And then we’d wander down there. That’s how we did it. That was probably seven or eight years ago.
CW
Were you into sports in school?
JMC
My dad was in the Marine Corps and he was actually MVP of the Marine Corps. Got a full scholarship to go to Rice University. All of his brothers played and they all say my dad was the one that could’ve made the NFL. He was a running back. He told my mom when he got the scholarship to Rice, ‘I married you, I didn’t marry football.’ They had to live on campus for a year, so he passed on his scholarship.
I was raised a huge sports fan. Wanted to be a football player. I was always tiny. But I figured I could be a wide receiver or something. Just get out and go. So I was practicing with the JV team in the 6th grade and my 7th grade year when I was supposed to play, my parents said, “Jason, public schools are too bad for you. We’re putting you in a Christian school.” They put me in a Christian school that had nothing but soccer. And it took me a long time to get over my soccer [resentment.] I like soccer now, but for several years, I couldn’t stand it. If it was on TV I’d turn it real quick. Soccer took football away from me!
CW
I know you didn’t write your current single, “Where I’m From,” but how much of it really fits you perfectly? Any of these lyrics: “From the front pew…of a wooden White Church…a courthouse clock that still don’t work…where a man’s word means everything…where moms and dads were high school flames who gave their children grandmother’s maiden name…”
JMC
My dad was a Fundamental Independent Baptist preacher. I grew up on a tobacco farm, “where a man’s word means everything.” I saw deals go down in the back yard from farmers just shaking hands. “Moms and dads were high school flames who gave their children grandmother’s maiden name.” My youngest son’s name is J.W. . . . Jason Weldon. Jason he got from me. When my wife said, ‘What’s wrong with Jason?’ when we were pickin’ out names, I about got teary-eyed. I wanted a junior. I even said, ‘Are you sure?’ And she said, ‘Well, I was until I heard you say, “Are you sure?” ‘
My oldest son, Gavin Michael, got my middle name. But my ex-wife wouldn’t let me give him Jason. So it’s really cool to have my name spread out like that. His middle name is Weldon and my grandfather’s name was Alfred Weldon . . . everybody called him A. W. My wife wouldn’t let me give him the name Alfred—I can’t blame her. [chuckles]. But now he goes by J.W. It’s very cool, because every now and then I’ll go out and visit my grandaddy’s grave, I’ll see my grandma and grandaddy’s grave. They’re buried right beside each other. And I have to explain to J. W. who this is. I’ll say, ‘J. W., this is where you got your name. His name was Alfred Weldon. And you got the name Jason Weldon.’ And he gets so concerned every now and again because he’ll look at me and go, ‘But it’s my name now, right?’ [laughs] Like, he’s not takin’ it back, right? Kids say the most amazing things.

For more about Jason, pick up the May 4 issue of Country Weekly.

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