For Houston-area country singer Jason Cassidy, a substantial knowledge of music history is a mixed blessing when it comes to songwriting.
“Just having a background of different genres influences me to write differently, but it does cause problems every now and then because my memory bank is so full of ’80s hair bands, hip hop and older and newer country stuff,” the Montgomery, Texas-based Cassidy said in a recent phone interview.
“Especially when writing with a guitar, everything starts sounding like something. Sometimes I wish I could clear the old information out of my head. But that’s why I like to write with a bunch of different people.”
For many years, Cassidy, now 31, had a financially successful but creatively bereft career with a Houston cover band. His switch to original songwriting had him in a rut, too, but then he met his future wife, Brandi, in 2009.
“I was to the point of walking away from it,” Cassidy said of his music career. “I was singing a lot of cover songs, working for the groceries, playing every night at every corner bar in Houston I could. I was doing well financially, but not doing anything for my career. (Brandi) pushed me to start writing, and I got back into church and got inspired by life and how the stuff I was writing was touching people. And I knew this was what I was supposed to do.”
Although the biography on Cassidy’s website emphasizes his re-engagement with his Christian faith, the songs don’t reflect that — at least not bluntly — and that’s the way he likes it.
“I don’t press (my religion) on anybody,” said Cassidy, who has children ages 5, 10 and 12. “When I’m singing to a bunch of people who are drinking, I say let’s have a drink and have a good time. I’m not preaching to anybody. I don’t want to seem overbearing. It’s a fine line you walk so people don’t mistake you for Christian band.”
Cassidy showcased a variety of paces and moods — and one song that begins with a Biblical voiceover — on his 2011 debut album, “My Redemption.” But he has one mood in mind for his sophomore effort, tentatively slated for early next year. His first single from the new album, “Ride of Your Life,” was also on the first album, but the new version is more rocking.
“There are so many different listeners out there,” Cassidy said.
“ ‘Ride of Your Life’ is directed toward the college crowd and people who party on weekends, and also middle-aged working people. It makes you want to cut loose after work. ... When I write stuff, I try not to make it too much about my life, because no one cares. I don’t want to leave anybody out. The first album was real traditional country. The next one is going to turn it up a bit and be more rocking.”
Cassidy and his bandmates will take that approach into the four weekend shows at the Missouri State Fair’s Budweiser tent, as well.
“A lot of stuff on the record is slower, and that’s not really how I intended it to be,” Cassidy said. “(At the show) I’m going to throw some hip hop in there, depending on the crowd. I have a song that has kind of an Eminem ‘8 Mile’ lick on it. So I might do that and then go into ‘Ride of Your Life.’ We’re entertainers, and it’s stuff like that that people remember.”
IF YOU GO
WHO: Jason Cassidy
WHEN: 2 and 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
WHERE: Budweiser Stage, Missouri State Fair
ADMISSION: Free with gate admission
WEBSITES: jasoncassidyonline.com, mostatefair.com