Entertainment, On A High Note

Jordan Rager finds ‘One of the Good Ones’

Photo by Lindsey Grace

Jordan Rager is one of the latest in a long line of singer/songwriters hailing from the Peach State of Georgia. It’s impressive company that includes Georgia-born artists like Luke Bryan, Thomas Rhett and Cole Swindell along with top Music Row songwriters Dallas Davidson and Ben Hayslip. Rager first came to national attention with his single “Southern Boy,” which featured a backing vocal by Jason Aldean, earning an impressive 10 million streams. Now, he’s recently released his current single “One of the Good Ones,” available now.

Though Rager primarily pens his own tunes, “One of the Good Ones” came to him from three of his songwriter buddies, Ross Ellis, Chris Stevens and James McNair. “They are all good friends of mine,” Rager notes. “This was a song that grabbed me immediately and just would not let me go. It had something special.”

The song takes a nostalgic look back at some of the high points, or more accurately “good ones,” in a young man’s life: a loyal hunting dog, a beat-up car that served its purpose. One line especially stuck with Rager, name-checking his favorite Atlanta Braves baseball star: “Like a Chipper Jones homer long gone out of the park.” Rager, who grew up outside of Atlanta, is a huge baseball fan and enjoyed a decent high school career on the diamond.

“I reached out to [the writers] to see if they had anybody for the song,” Rager continues. “I asked them, ‘Can I be in on the conversation?’ They said that it was perfect for me and I am so glad to have it. This actually sounds like something I could have written.”

Rager’s also pumped about his upcoming EP due later this year, which will feature “One of the Good Ones.” The new project marks a critical turning point in his career, he explains, as it more accurately represents who he is as an artist. He also feels that he’s discovered the sonic style that suits him best.

“It’s been a couple of years since I’ve released some new music,” Rager says. “I think now I have a much better grasp of what I want to say and what my brand is. The new record will have the kind of music that I have always wanted to make.” Rager adds that his directional shift is the result of a little experimentation as well as serious reflection. “I took last year to mostly write,” he says. “I tried a lot of things out and wrote a lot of different songs, just trying to hone in on who I was. I’m glad I did that because I really think it shows in the new music.”

The songs on the new EP, outside of “One of the Good Ones,” will have his songwriting stamp on them. “We have a good idea of what will be on there,” he says. “We’re still in the recording process but it should be out later this year.”

Rager, who just turned 24, moved to Nashville mainly to tone up his songwriting craft, and he’s taken some valuable lessons from some of Music Row’s finest. “I have been really blessed to work with people like Casey Beathard,” Rager says in earnest. “I am a big fan of Ross Ellis, who is one of the writers on ‘One of the Good Ones.’ They are super supportive of me and have taught me a lot. They exceed your expectations of what a mentor and a good teacher should be.”

After a recent performance at Nashville’s Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival, Rager aims to head out on the road and start filling in more tour dates. “Last year, I didn’t spend a lot of time on the road,” he concedes. “But we will be back this year. We don’t have a set tour. Depending on the venue, I’ll do a show with a full band, but I love doing solo shows also. And I will be part of CMA Music Festival this summer. I’m looking forward to that.”

Jordan Rager’s new single, “One of the Good Ones,” is available now.