The Long Road is not the name of a backing group. Instead, it’s a statement about Jaron Lowenstein’s struggles with romance. And struggle is definitely the word, based on “Pray For You,” in which a vengeful guy prays his ex encounters a whole series of gotcha events, including a head injury and a blowout on the interstate.
When you first hear it, the song sounds kind of mean-spirited. But it also gets a laugh, which is pretty much the point.
“It’s not a call to action,” Jaron says. “It’s not telling people you should go out and pray bad things for people. What it does is it’s a cathartic release. I hear it hundreds of times a day: ‘I was so mad, da da da da da, and I sang this song and it made me laugh.’ It makes anger subside. It doesn’t fuel the fire. It actually puts the fires out. It makes us laugh at ourselves, and I think that’s why people initially heard the song and started to laugh, because they see themselves in the song and they realize that maybe they over-reacted.”
Watch “Pray For You” now:
Jaron established his own label, Jaronwood, so he could release “Pray For You,” and he later formed a partnership deal with Big Machine and Republic Nashville, companies involved in the careers of Taylor Swift, Steel Magnolia and the Eli Young Band. Jaron knew he had a hit on his hands with “Pray For You,” in great part because of the feedback he got from fans who found his music on the Internet. And he founded Jaronwood with the intention of letting those same fans continue to dictate the shape of his career — including what future songs might get released off of Getting Dressed.
“It wasn’t [because] I need to have my own vanity label,” he explains. “It was so I can maintain and continue to be fan-led and not have some [record executive] come along and say, ‘We love what you did, kid. Suck it up here. We’re gonna move this over and stick it into a machine and this is how we do it around here. No, we don’t listen to the fans.’ I wanted to make sure that I was able to say ‘OK, you see what’s happening here? You see how we went backwards, that we actually involved the fans early in?’ The fans are the A&R department. The fans are the promotion department. We want them to have their fingerprints on it. I want to say, ‘OK, as we continue going forward, that’s not gonna change.’”
Jaron is so fan-led that he’s made nearly all of the songs on Getting Dressed In The Dark available for streaming on his MySpace page. You can hear the entire album before you buy it and make an informed decision.
If you don’t like it, he says, “then don’t buy it. I’m not interested in trapping anybody.”