Country singer Jake Owen divorced his wife last year so it’s no surprise songs exploring the ups and downs of romantic relationships dominate his upcoming album, “American Love.”
Despite his recent heartbreak, Owen — performing at Fraze Pavilion in Kettering on Friday, June 24 — has crafted a batch of songs that balances heartache with flirtatious fun and moments of outright optimism.
This ability to look at the sunnier side of life shouldn’t surprise fans of Owen’s earlier hits like “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” and “Beachin’.”
“Going through the divorce last year was really hard on me so obviously not every song is a happy-go-lucky love song,” Owen said recently. “There are serious ones like, ‘When You Love Someone,’ about a relationship that didn’t pan out like it should. A lot of people will relate to that if they’ve had someone that wasn’t faithful.
“There are the ones that have the feeling of longing for love, but it’s important to have fun ones like ‘VW Van’ and ‘Good Company’ too,” Owen continued. “My whole persona and what I like to do on a daily basis is make people feel good, to make them smile and laugh, and to tell the truth in my music.”
The music on “American Love” is extremely diverse. “VW Van” is a banjo-driven road song and “Good Company” is a party anthem about texting a woman an invitation to a cookout with friends, while “If He Ain’t Gonna Love You” is a steamy blues rocker and “When You Love Someone” is a fragile piano ballad. “After Midnight,” a tale about two small-town lovers sneaking out for a late night liaison, has subtle ’80s pop undertones complete with bass guitar arpeggios, airy synthesizer and a rocking guitar solo.
“I love that country music has allowed the genre to take different turns sonically,” Owen said. “For a long time people were like, ‘This isn’t country, that’s not country.’ For me, it’s all about good lyrics, good songs, a good melodic structure and something that makes people feel good. It’s great that people are accepting change in this format and where it’s going.”
Despite the musical diversity, “American Love” remains cohesive through Owen’s expressive voice and the album’s penchant for catchy, imagery-filled story songs.
“This is by far my favorite record I’ve made,” Owen said. “It’s the first one I’ve made where I’m really comfortable with myself, who I am and what I want to say, as opposed to just making a record full of songs. I’m very proud of it.”