Album Review: Jerrod Niemann – Judge Jerrod and the Hung Jury

Blake Boldt | July 20th, 2010

Jerrod Niemann - Judge Jerrod and The Hung JuryJerrod Niemann, an in-demand Nashville songwriter who’s scored cuts by Garth Brooks and John Anderson, is now in the spotlight himself on Judge Jerrod & The Hung Jury, a dozen songs intercut with a series of playful skits. That variety-show format, used wisely by Brad Paisley in his early career, works equally well on Niemann’s debut, one of the rare Nashville albums that doesn’t sound like a cheap arena rock knockoff from the ’80s.

On Judge, Niemann gathers his rowdy friends–Jamey Johnson, among them–to run amok on this entertaining blend of country and modern R & B. The most humorous moments are also his best. Robert Earl Keen’s “The Buckin’ Song” is a handsome fit for Niemann’s charming baritone, and he lends an off-kilter perspective to the racuous honky-tonker “How Can I Be So Thirsty,” co-written with Anderson and Billy Joe Walker, Jr. He also finds success when things turn serious: “Old School New Again” is a fine slow-waltzing ballad that knocks Music Row’s hitmaking factory.

“Lover, Lover,” Niemann’s catchy remake of Sonia Dada’s pop original, has zoomed up the charts this summer. The verdict: this talented newcomer is primed for more hits in the future.

3.5 Stars

  1. Fizz
    July 20, 2010 at 8:10 am

    “Knocks Music Row’s hitmaking factory,” huh? Uh-oh, get the stepladder ready. Jon is about to ascend his high horse.

  2. Fizz
    July 20, 2010 at 8:13 am

    Although … didn’t it just say he’s part of that very same hitmaking factory?

  3. Mike Parker
    July 20, 2010 at 10:14 am

    The skits get old really fast, but are probably necessary to buffer (and alert listeners to) the huge shifts in tone and style throughout the album. Without the skits, this would feel really disjointed at times.

    I agree with 3-1/2 stars. The songs are catchy, and well produced, and Jerrod seems to have a fair amount of charisma. This will get repeated listenings from me, and I’ll be looking forward to whatever’s next.

  4. Rob Tribbett
    July 20, 2010 at 10:34 am

    I was skeptical of Jerrod from just the radio single, but after this review, I checked out the album.

    I am pleasantly surprised. There are some good party anthems here, but they have the originality missing in most of the radio music. However, my favorite is the Bakersfield ballad.

  5. Ben Foster
    July 20, 2010 at 11:35 am

    I didn’t like “Lover, Lover,” but now I’m looking forward to see what else Jerrod puts out.

  6. Zach
    July 20, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    I was also pleasantly surprised by the album. The interstitials are good for one listen (deleted them from my iTunes right after). But there are some strong songs on the album.

  7. Noeller
    July 20, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Lover Lover is one of the coolest songs Country radio has had in a really really long time. Has such a funky groove to it.

    I sat and listened to a preview copy of this album awhile back and really really got into it. The humour, the genuine good vocal and great songwriting – - it’s all what I want to hear out of a country artist.

    I’m very excited to hear what this guy comes up with in the future.

  8. Rick
    July 20, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Now the real question is whether the album contains other pop-rock tunes that will work as a follow up radio single to “Lover Lover”? I regret not winning a copy of this album as its been one of the few recent give-away contests here at the 9513 where I actually wanted to hear the CD! Darn!

    PS – The soundtrack to the silly gay farce film “Happy Texas” has an extended “Re-mix” version of Robert Earl Keen’s “That Buckin’ Song” for anyone who just can’t get enough!

  9. Jess Sue
    July 21, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Heard him do “That Buckin’ Song” live. I had never heard it before. I thought i was gonna die laughing. I had to buy Robert Earl Keen’s version just to hold me over. Love “Old School New Again” I have to buy this album.

  10. dallas
    August 13, 2010 at 9:37 am

    I love that song lover lover you don’t treat me no good.

  11. Regina George
    August 31, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    I think the CD is kind of lame. It’s the classic case of thinking you write really funny/clever lyrics, and they’re actually just kind of dumb. Like, the “margascrewalotta on the beach” or whatever. It was just way too forced. The notes were also held out all awkward. PS. don’t put this CD on your Ipod, nothing’s worse than being in the middle of an intense work out, waiting for the next track and just hearing some dude talk for 30 seconds. but i give him points for being different.
    andd As much as i hate to admit it, Lover Lover was kind of genius. Srsly catchy, really something that hasn’t been heard on country radio in a while, kind of a “why didn’t I think of that” simplicity in both lyrics and beat.

  12. Paul W Dennis
    August 31, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    This CD is on my short list for best CD of the year. It’s different and won’t be everybody’s taste but it gets better with repeated listening

  13. Ian
    December 18, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    I’m not sure exactly why but this website is loading incredibly slow for me. Is anyone else having this issue or is it a problem on my end? I’ll check back
    later on and see if the problem still exists.

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