Seven years into one of the hottest careers in country music, there are more eyes on Brett Eldredge than ever before. And with the release of his latest album for Atlantic Records/Warner Music Nashville, those eyes will finally get the full story.
The ‘sensitive romantic’ fans discovered on “Beat of the Music” and “Wanna Be That Song”? He’s back. The passionate crooner who could barely contain himself on “Lose My Mind” and “Drunk on Your Love”? He’s still obsessed. And making its first musical appearance: the hilarious personality that’s built a social-media following in the millions.
But this project goes even further, filled with soul-searching lyrics and the raw, complex emotions Eldredge has always wanted to share. It’s so personal that when it came time to decide on a name, there was only one option. It had to be self-titled.
“I’ve never had a self-titled album, and you really have to step up when you do that,” Eldredge explains. “I ventured out to make something that would really stand out among all my records. I want it to be the one that everybody looks back on and says ‘That was the big one.’”
An undeniable star from the beginning, fans could be forgiven for assuming “the big one” had already come.
Eldredge dropped his first two albums into the top two positions of Billboard’s country chart with Bring You Back and Illinois, and did the same with an incredible six singles in a row all hitting #1. He tallied seven Gold or Platinum certifications, scored 2014’s CMA New Artist of the Year award and co-hosted ABC’s CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock. He’s the rare breed of entertainer who shines both behind the mic AND in front of TV cameras.
But now at 31 years old and with a freight-train of momentum, the Illinois native is getting real.
Secluding himself and longtime producer Ross Copperman in a real-life castle outside Nashville, Eldredge recorded the album’s 12 tracks after co-writing each one with tunesmiths like Tom Douglas, Matt Rogers, Jordan Reynolds, and Heather Morgan, bringing his full personality front and center.
No subject was off limits – from his search for love to the faults that keep him from finding it. A quirky quest for fun stands next to a never-ending drive to chase the horizon, while topics like family are treated with reverence and beaches inspire new beginnings. Meanwhile, Eldredge’s throaty baritone shines with casual confidence, and progressive country mixes freely with classic pop and soul.
“This album doesn’t sound like any of the others,” he admits. “I never want my fans to think I’m gonna do the same thing over and over – I want them to wonder what’s coming next.”
Boisterous first single “Somethin’ I’m Good At” set his sense of humor free, making it the perfect jumping off point for an album full of surprises.
“It’s like if you saw what was playing in my mind,” Eldredge says with a laugh. “I’m bad at a lot of things, and I want people to embrace that part of themselves. But that’s just an intro to what’s going on here. On other songs, I get to open up and get deeper into my life – getting lost and getting found, being confused and loving the whole ride.”
“Superhero” keeps the funky fun going, while his journey to stardom is revealed through a character in the tender ballad “No Stopping You.” Inspired by his own dreams and love of travel, its cinematic lyrics come to life with a newly perfected falsetto.
“Brother” offers an intimate musical shoulder to lean on, and “The Reason” shows off his classic-pop vocal – along with a “big retro soulful chorus.” Meanwhile, “Long Way Around” sends listeners on a vivid sunset drive through a lover’s hometown.
“It peels back the search I’m on looking for love,” he explains. “I’m into year 31 and looking for that deeper level, that person you want to know everything about and ride around their town to see every little landmark in their lives.”
The search for true love is everywhere on the record – and perhaps the album’s biggest revelation. It opens with the sunny groove of “Love Someone,” basking in romantic optimism, but ends up devastated and alone with “Castaway,” showing a touch of insecurity hiding behind that brilliant smile.
“That’s the thing a lot of people don’t know about me,” he says. “It’s 100 percent ‘me’ who’s out there in the world, but in a lot of ways I’m also a shy guy. It’s about the fact that I always try to run away and I run until I realize I’ve gone so far I’m stranded.
“At this very moment, that’s exactly where I am with love,” he goes on. “But I’m willing to tell that story because I feel like a lot of people are in that place.”
From a personal standpoint, Eldredge’s self-titled album is the most satisfying music he’s ever made. It’s diverse, unflinching, and adventurous, because he was on a mission to reveal his whole story – or at least, the story up until now.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever write a book – it might just be sounds coming out of your speakers,” he says. “But I feel like my story began with Bring You Back and now we’ve reached this chapter. It’s is the one that will grab you more than any other, while also giving you hints of where I’m going. There are a lot more pages left.”