I’m not sure the relevant question anymore is “if,” but “when” Justin Timberlake will go country. And if some recent actions by the pop megastar are any indication, it might be sooner than later, and it might be with music that is not as mainstream oriented as one might think.
Talk of Justin Timberlake going country is nothing new. In November of 2013, Timberlake told Sirius XM’s The Highway: “I just did an interview earlier today and I said, ‘I’m America, that’s what I am.’ In all sense of the word. [I] grew up outside of Memphis, Tennessee. Listened to country music, R&B music, classic rock, you know, everything ”¦ I still got my eyes set on a Best Country Album. There is time for that.”
Then in December of 2013, Timberlake doubled down on his statements, telling The Tennessean:
“The next move for me is to sink some teeth in here [Nashville]. I’ve done it before. I got a taste of it,” (referring to the song “The Only Promise That Remains” that Timberlake wrote and produced for Reba McEntire) “”¦it reminded me of the songs that my grandfather used to make me listen to when I was a kid in a great way. It hit me, ‘Oh I wrote this song because of my childhood.’ It ended up being this thing that country radio wouldn’t play.”
“A good song is a good song is a good song,” Timberlake continued. “There’s still so much that can happen in Nashville, and I look to the future and I want to be a part of it. And I’m not just blowing smoke. I don’t say that about Los Angeles. I don’t think I would move to Nashville. I know I would move to Nashville. It’s a matter of time. And it’s what this place could offer me, to be that outlet for all these different styles.”
Well ladies and gentlemen, that time is now, and that move has been made.
On June 1st, it was announced that Justin Timberlake had paid $4 million for a 126-acre parcel in philanthropist Aubry Preston’s Lieper’s Fork community preserve just south and east of Nashville in Williamson County. Aubrey Preston was the millionaire who saved historic Studio ‘A’ on Music Row in Nashville from last-minute demolition in late 2014. Alan Jackson, Trisha Yearwood, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are some other country music celebrities that live in the Williamson County area, and Timberlake’s mother and stepfather live in Brentwood, just south of Nashville.
Okay, so now that Justin is moving one step closer to Nashville, and one step closer to making a country record, what can we expect? It might be telling (and reassuring) that in December of 2014, Timberlake tweeted out his love for Chris Stapleton, whose recent release Traveller has become the toast of critics and discerning country fans alike. Interesting to note that Stapleton has already worked with a worldwide superstar in Adele, so could could we see some Timberlake/Stapleton collaborations in the offing?
Timberlake also buddied up with Garth Brooks in late 2014, singing “Low Places” with Garth at his Nashville tour stop.
Love the idea or hate it, get ready for “Timberlake Country,” because it appears to be coming.
REAL music fans already know. So, mainstream: @ChrisStapleton Remember that name… –jt
Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) December 11, 2014