Things happened quickly. Aldean cut Thomas Rhetts "I Aint Ready To Quit" for My Kinda Party, which was released in November 2010 just eight months after Thomas Rhett signed his publishing deal. Even then, Vaughn was already taking Thomas Rhett around Music Row to play acoustic auditions as an artist in record-company conference rooms. And they always got some interest.
When he played for the Big Machine Label Group, which includes The Valory Music Co., it took only three songs before President and CEO Scott Borchetta announced he wanted Thomas Rhett on the roster.
"Scott doesnt mess around," Thomas Rhett says. "The next day, my lawyer called and said Big Machine had made an offer."
That also gave Thomas Rhett the reins to make an album. They teamed him with producer Jay Joyce, whos worked as a producer and/or guitarist with Eric Church, Cage The Elephant and Miranda Lambert. The results on Thomas Rhetts debut are a rhythmic, grooving, infectious amalgam of styles that appreciates countrys roots and challenges its perceived limitations at the same time.
The music was captured at Joyces home studio, which provided a loose, informal ambience that found its way into the tracks.
"Its recorded in his basement," Thomas Rhett says. "Its dark, a couple lamps on and candles burning and incense everywhere. We had some of the best players, and it was pretty much a big jam session until we found something that worked."
The album veers from the clever wordplay of "Would Ya" to the high energy of "Something To Do With My Hands" to the playful grooves of "Front Porch Junkie" and "All-American Middle Class White Boy." But as much as hes about having a good time, "Beer With Jesus" a rough-edged ballad that seeks elusive spiritual clarity demonstrates the enormous depth that lies under all the fun stuff.
Thats appropriate for Thomas Rhett, whos discovered that music despite his insistence on avoiding it is a central part of his destiny.
"I think Ive been directed here for a reason," he surmises. "I still dont know why. I dont know if its to be some big star or if its to make a difference in somebodys life along the way or to make somebodys Friday night entertaining. It doesnt really matter. Its a journey, and Im learning something new every step along the way."