A Grammy-nominated country artist will wing it on stage by performing whatever songs come to mind, trying to create a more personal experience.
Jake Owen will perform on campus this weekend for the second stop in his “Down to the Tiki Tonk Tour,” his first ever headlining acoustic tour.
“There is no better feeling than being able to just break it down to what the true elements of what the music is — the voice, instrument and a song,” Owen said.
With this tour, he wanted to bring his performances back to how his shows first started when he began his music career as a student at Florida State University.
“I started out on a barstool with just myself and a guitar,” Owen said. “It makes it easier to truly connect with the audience more than you can when there are a lot of distractions going on.”
He said that he wanted a more intimate setting for this tour and is excited to be close with his audience.
“I am looking forward to the intimacy of it, and the fact that I’ll be able to converse with the crowd,” Owen said. “It’s hard to do that when you are playing in a large amphitheater, and you don’t feel like they are there.”
To help aid in the intimate setting, Elliott Hall of Music is closing down one of the balconies.
“The second balcony is not going to be open for this particular show,” said Mike Armintrout, associate director for programming at Purdue Convocations. “It’s just going to be the main floor and the first balcony open.”
Owen said that the intimacy of the venue is what drew him and his team to Elliott Hall.
“We do a lot of research on where we are going before we ever plan a tour,” he said, “and Elliott has a really cool way of setting up that room for that sort of intimate type of show.”
Owen said he’s not bringing a set list of songs to play.
“I’m not even gonna have a set list each night. I’m just gonna play songs off the top of my head and just play whatever,” he said, “and if someone wants to hear something, they’ll yell it out, and I’ll either say ‘yeah’ or ‘no.’”
Larry Fleet and Scotty Emerick will join Owen on tour, both country artists who have known him for a few years.
“(Fleet) is a really good friend of mine that I actually met a few years ago. He was by himself playing guitar in a bar,” Owen said. “His voice, his songs and guitar playing really drew me in and having him out there will be great.”
Emerick grew up in Owen’s hometown in Florida.
“My best buddy (Emerick) is an amazing talent as well,” said Owen. “He is a great acoustic guitar player, singer-songwriter. I think it really just compliments what I do.”
Elliott Hall has a history of country performances, including shows by Brad Paisley and Luke Bryan, and Purdue Convocations is excited to bring that back to the University, Armintrout said.
“We have just been working diligently over the last couple of years to try and re-engage country music,” he said.
In Armintrout’s experience, country music has not made a recent appearance at Purdue for as long as he has been here.
“This is the first country show in Elliott since I’ve been here (four years),” he said, “so I’m excited for that and to have country music coming back to Purdue.”
Jake Owen will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday in Elliott Hall.
“I’m really looking forward to getting up there and seeing y’all,” he said.