Going from punk to country was a surprisingly natural transition. “It was almost like a throwback,” says Jaret. “All the Bowling For Soup songs that I write in general all start on acoustic guitar. So when you first hear them when I’m playing around with them, they all sound country anyway. It so makes a lot of sense that Just Woke Up would include country versions of two of Bowling For Soup’s greatest tracks, Ohio (Come Back To Texas) and The Bitch Song, perhaps as close as you can get to hearing those songs in their les first drafts – or their “original form”, as Jaret describes it.
One of the things Jaret says he loves most about country music is its reality, inspiring him to show another side of himself in his writing, as well as another side of his musical identity. “I write from the heart in Bowling For Soup, but when I do, I usually pick it up and spin it around. I’ll show my feelings but then tell a funny joke so my heart isn’t exposed,” reveals he said, “It’s almost a wall I’ve been hiding behind. In the country, though, you can’t do that unless you want to be a novelty. And I didn’t want to be a novelty.”
Jaret even shares things in these songs that he’s never talked about before – particularly about the royal family, which is more deeply personal than his sweet family sentiment on the surface implies. The singer had grown up never knowing his biological father, but had another parental figure in his life who he still calls his father nonetheless. He discovered he had two sisters he had never known and did not meet them until he was 46.