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Jake Worthington: 5 Songs That Shaped the Songwriter

by Jim Casey
Jake Worthington 5 Songs That Shaped the Songwriter
(photo by Jim Wright)

If traditional Texas twang is your thing (and it should be), Jake Worthington will soon have you two-steppin’ to his honky-tonk stylings. On April 7, the Texas native will release his self-titled debut album, which features 13 dance hall ditties that he co-penned, including recently released “State You Left Me In” and “Next New Thing.”

Ahead of his new album’s release, Outsider caught up to Jake to find out the 5 Songs That Shaped the Songwriter. And, as you might expect from a 27-year-old steeped in the sounds of traditional country music, Jake has a handful of honky-tonk heroes on his list.

1. ‘I Never Go Around Mirrors’ – Keith Whitley (written by Lefty Frizzell, Sanger D. Shafer)

Jake Worthington: I think it’s a passed down belief that if you were to introduce somebody to country music who’s never heard country music before, this would be the song that they would need to hear 100 times.

2. ‘Chiseled in Stone’ – Vern Gosdin (written by Vern Gosdin, Max D. Barnes)

Jake Worthington: I heard this song for the first time when I was 13 in a studio setting. I was with my grandpa and Keith McCoy in Channelview, Texas. And they let me know at a young age who the voice was. I believe this is a quintessential country song.

3. ‘Too Cold at Home’ – Mark Chesnutt (written by Bobby Harden)

Jake Worthington: This is a song that I grew up hearin’ quite a bit just by the nature of where I grew up livin’. Mark Chesnutt is king in southeast Texas, as well as T-Byrd [Tracy Byrd] and [George] Jones, but during this time I feel like one of the best representations of what I think a country song sounds like or is, is in fact “Too Cold at Home.”

4. ‘Nothing Sure Looked Good On You’ – Gene Watson (written by Jim Rushing)

Jake Worthington: My Papaw used to play this song at the house whenever Meemaw would be all upset at him. He said he’d play it to get on the right side of her. I think it’s another quintessential country song.

5. ‘Footlights’ – Merle Haggard

Jake Worthington: One of the songs that has been inspiring to me for a long time now is “Footlights.” Haggard cut it on his Serving 190 Proof record. I was in Sacramento at Golf and Guitars, backstage with Drew Kennedy. I remember asking him, being a songwriter that I look up to out of Texas, “What’s a record that I absolutely need to go wrap my head around?” And he told me Serving 190 Proof. “Footlights” was on there and was a song that I’ve heard many people in the bars cover. And it hit home with me as a singer, songwriter, and performer. It doesn’t hold any shots back on the lifestyle it can lead. I think that “Footlights” and kickin’ out the footlights . . . again, is the name of the game.