In Jerrod Niemann’s new video for “Blue Bandana,” the first single from his upcoming fourth major-label album, the story of a festival-hopping beauty with a gypsy spirit comes to life.
Niemann has said fans can expect the new album to lean toward the organic, acoustic side of country, and “Blue Bandana” reinforces that statement. Co-written by Ben Goldsmith, C.J. Solar and Andrew Scott Wills, the song features an upbeat sway mixed with a bit of longing, lead by an acoustic guitar riff, driving drums and Niemann’s propulsive vocals.
“It encompasses all those traditional festival sounds, from Woodstock to Southern rock,” he told Rolling Stone Country. “Being a music fan, I know that girl in the song.”
Throughout the tune, the “Drink to That All Night” hit-maker sings about falling for a hippie-type girl in a sundress at MerleFest in North Carolina. He can’t get her off his mind, though, and since they parted ways he scans every crowd he plays hoping to see her again. She spends her time travelling from one multi-day music festival to the next, trying to find the proverbial needle in a haystack.
Huge gatherings like Bonnaroo in Tennessee, Coachella in California, the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island and Lollapalooza in Chicago all get name-checked, as well as Wakarusa in Arkansas, the New Orleans Jazz Festival and Hangout Fest in Alabama.
In the video, Niemann climbs aboard his tour bus and recounts his story while his nameless girl in the blue bandana cruises the countryside in her vintage VW van. She’s a carefree loner who’s not afraid to ditch her map, change clothes by the roadside or hitchhike when the van breaks down, but with shots of real concerts and fans mixed in, the video makes Niemann’s lyrics seem more like a shout-out to any Regular Joe who comes to his shows.
“You hear songs that are thank-you’s to the fans,” he said. “This is a story song and a tip-of-the-hat to those people who drive all over the place and spend their money to let us jam with them.”
Niemann has played his share of festivals already this summer — like Stagecoach, Country Thunder and Country Jam, among others — but for the rest of the touring season he’ll be getting back to country music’s roots, visiting state and county fairs and clubs all over the U.S. through December 3th. A release date for his new album, co-produced by Jimmy Lee Sloas, is yet to be announced.