NASHVILLE – Less than three years after arriving in Nashville with a truck full of dreams and songs, Jake Owen is closing in on the release of his debut album, Startin’ With Me, which will be released on July 25. Among the albums many features is his Top 20 single, “Yee Haw,” which continues its ascent up the country singles charts.

Jake was going to be a walk-on for the golf team at Florida State University, when a waterskiing accident derailed his golf career. He put down his clubs and picked up a guitar. He taught himself how to play (pretty well, too) and got a gig singing at a campus bar in Tallahassee. An English major, it wasn’t long before he began writing songs, and one semester shy of graduation, he packed his truck and headed to Nashville.

The road to a record deal is often paved with fortuitous circumstances, and in Jake’s case, it was a demo tape he gave to the banker when he opened a bank account which eventually led him to RCA Records.

As a writer on all of the album’s 11 tracks, Jake finds inspiration for his songs from stories he’s heard about family members he never knew and his own life experiences, including years of campus life. Going to concerts in Tallahassee was a favorite entertainment choice, and he saw several artists who would later intersect with his music.

He was at the civic center when Alabama’s Farewell Tour came through town. Lead singer Randy Owen (no relation) now joins him on the album’s final track, “You Can Thank Dixie.” He watched Kenny Chesney from the “nosebleed” section, and a few short years later, the superstar placed Jake’s song, “Ghosts,” on hold for an album. Kenny ultimately released it back to Jake, and the song that he wrote from stories he heard about his grandfather is now on his debut album.

Less than a month since his Grand Ole Opry debut, the Vero Beach native has again been asked to perform on the Opry stage. He will make his first appearance on GAC’s televised Grand Ole Opry Live on Saturday night, performing his hit single, “Yee Haw,” as well as “Places To Run,” another track from his Startin’ With Me album.

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