By Peter Cronin
Jaron Boyer: Another Country
With his beat up baseball cap and thick southern drawl, Jaron Boyer may seem a lot like any successful songwriter along Music Row. But listen closely to the hits he’s crafting for top artists including Jason Aldean, Joe Nichols, Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery, and you’ll hear (and feel) a distinct difference. Boyer is among a growing group of writers and producers gleefully blending time-honored Nashville songcraft to their own will, incorporating beats and sonic touches from the worlds of pop and hip hop to create something fresh and commerically combustible. For Boyer, “freestyling” a country lyric idea over a pulsing hip hop track is as viable and natural as sitting down to write a song with the more traditional notebook and guitar.
“When I was growing up in Oklahoma, I listened to all genres of music, and that’s why I’m so diverse in my writing,” he says. “That’s just how kids are these days. They like Maroon 5 and Bruno Mars, and they love Jason Aldean.”
Raised in the border town of Ardmore, halfway between Dallas and Oklahoma City, Boyer is as country as they come. But like his peers, he was exposed to, and seduced by, all kinds of music, with Boys II Men sitting comfortably next to Garth Brooks on his playlist. As the iPod generation comes of age, those kinds of juxtapositions are more and more common, so creative leakage between genres is inevitable, and, as it turns out, as catchy as hell.
Happily for country fans, Boyer augments his computer-generated beats with the kind of undeniable musical and lyrical hooks that keep things country. Newly signed to Jason Aldean-producer Michael Knox’s publishing company, he’s currently spending a lot of time on tour buses with some of country’s biggest stars, all of whom are putting his songs on hold and hoping to absorb some of his hitmaking magic. There’s no doubt about it, country music is coming around to Jaron Boyer’s way of thinking.
“I can sit down and build a track and write to it by myself, but working with a cowriter is kind of cool, because that other person might come up with something different.” Boyer says. “I’ve worked my butt off to get to where I am now, and I feel like this year is going to be huge for me.”