Jason Eady starts his new song “Why I Left Atlanta” somewhere along the I-20, cutting a path across the Bible Belt on his way to somewhere – and perhaps someone – else.
Equal parts apology and rallying cry, “Why I Left Atlanta” finds Eady playing one of the classic roles of old-school country music: the road-bound rambler who’s hellbent on outrunning his troubles. It also serves as the first release from the songwriter’s sixth album, a self-titled, 10-track record that makes its debut April 21st.
Produced by longtime partner-in-crime Kevin Welch, “Why I Left Atlanta” was written during the winter months, while Georgia’s biggest city thawed from an uncharacteristically brutal snowstorm.
“[The song] started as a challenge for a songwriting group I was in, where we would give each other themes and then write songs about those themes,” says Welch. One particular week, the group’s meeting coincided with a blizzard in Atlanta, where “everybody got stuck on the interstate and nobody could get anywhere.” Appropriately, the writers challenged themselves to write songs about leaving Atlanta. Eady complied, tossing some personal details into his own tune and winding up with an autobiographical, nonfictional homerun.
Eady recorded his new album at Nashville’s Blueroom Studios, less than an afternoon’s drive from Atlanta. Joining him were a number of Tennesseans and fellow Texans, including pedal steel kingpin Lloyd Maines, SteelDrivers fiddler Tammy Rogers, Vince Gill (who provides harmony vocals on “No Genie in This Bottle”) and Eady’s own wife, singer/songwriter Courtney Patton. The result is an acoustic-heavy album that makes room for electricity, eclecticism and guest appearances, with Eady serving as the master of ceremonies.