Jake Owen’s ‘On the Boat Again’ Adds Vacation Vibes to a Willie Nelson Classic [Listen]
Just two days after announcing his next studio album, Loose Cannon, Jake Owen dropped four of the tracks off the new project on Friday (May 26) -- including among them a familiar jam just in time for Memorial Day lake outings.
"On the Boat Again" is a reworking of Willie Nelson's 1980s classic "On the Road Again," and the homage isn't subtle. Crediting Nelson as a writer on his updated version, Owen retools the lyrics and unmistakable melody of the beloved country original.
But Owen injects a heavy dose of his own musical personality into this refreshed version, which parts ways from Nelson's song in a couple key thematic ways. "On the Road Again" found Nelson itching for his next tour -- new cities and new crowds, as seen from the vantage point of a highway with his musical buddies by his side -- while Owen is yearning instead for a hard-earned break from work. In "On the Boat Again," Owen clocks out of his day job as fast as he can, heading out to the lake with some buddies, his fishing gear and a few pretty girls.
It makes sense that Owen would retool the song in that direction. Feel-good, summertime escapism has always been a musical lane that serves him well, as evidenced by songs like "Barefoot Blue Jean Night," "Down to the Honkytonk" and "Drunk on a Boat."
It's also not the first time he's incorporated pieces of an older classic song to create a new hit of his own. His 2018 Greetings From...Jake album produced the No. 1 hit single "I Was Jack (You Were Diane)," which sampled -- albeit not quite as extensively -- from John Mellencamp's 1982 hit, "Jack & Diane."
It's prime time for updated versions of classic songs on country radio. Cole Swindell recently notched a massive hit with "She Had Me at Heads Carolina," an updated version of Jo Dee Messina's "Heads Carolina, Tails California." Meanwhile, Chapel Hart skyrocketed to fame as America's Got Talent contestants performing "You Can Have Him, Jolene," their twist on Dolly Parton's "Jolene."
"On the Boat Again" is one of four brand-new tracks from Owen that arrived Friday: Other previewed songs off his Loose Cannon album include "Hot Truck Beer," "Solo, Solo" and "Nothing." Loose Cannon arrives in full on June 23.
Jake Owen, "On the Boat Again" Lyrics:
This job that I'm workin' / Is hard on a person / Like me with that sun shining like it is / Right now / So I'm punching that time clock / To swim through that gridlock / And I'll sit and wait long as I need to sit / To get out...
On the boat again / I just can't wait to get on the boat again / The life I love is drinkin' cold beer with my friends / Yeah, I can't wait to get on the boat again
Might not be Tahiti / But them girls in bikinis / They make a Mercury feel like a yacht / Yeah they do / Same time, same lake, next week / Same spot off Catfish Creek / We'll be chillin', we'll be sippin' / We'll be kickin' back and sittin'
On the boat again / I just can't wait to get out and float again / Cast a line and see if I can't reel one in / Yeah, I can't wait to get on the boat again
Lord knows it won't be long / 'Til I go and tie one on...The boat again / I just can't wait to get on the boat again / The life I love is drinkin' cold beer with my friends / Yeah, I can't wait to get on the boat again