John Morgan Takes ‘Friends Like That’ To The ‘Next Level’ With Longtime Collaborator And Mentor, Jason Aldean

“He hit me up, he’s like, ‘dude, let’s take this to the next level.’ He didn’t have to twist my arm too hard,” Morgan recalled of Aldean’s call to transform the song into a duet.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

April 5, 2024


9:30 am

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Jason Aldean, John Morgan; Photo by Justin Mrusek

John Morgan first released his upbeat anthem “Friends Like That” as the lead track on his debut EP, Remember Us? which dropped last fall. The song earned so much high praise from fans online and during live shows that he decided to re-record it with the addition of vocals by his frequent collaborator and mentor, Jason Aldean.

The song penned by Morgan with Will Bundy, Brent Anderson and Lydia Vaughn was originally pitched as a more somber tune, but collectively, the songwriters decided to give it a more lighthearted feel to it. This resulted in an energetic delivery of a heartbreak anthem that looks to Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Jack Daniels as the “Friends” to help guide the main character through the rough time. 

It’s easier to sometimes write those more somber versions of the song, but it really turned out cooler than I had been expected it to,” Morgan told Country Now. “It’s super catchy too. That’s one of the things that stuck with me is that chorus…it was just a really fun write for me. I was in the room with some of my best friends in town and it was just very fitting for the song.”

John Morgan; Friends Like That
John Morgan; Friends Like That

The decision to put out a new rendition of “Friends Like That” came as a result of the impressive traction it gained with Morgan’s fanbase. So when it came time to figure out his first radio single, “Friends Like That” just “raised its hand,” as the North Carolina native said. 

In order to get the barn burner ready for radio, he needed to do something to elevate the song. That’s when the idea to record a new version with Jason Aldean fell into place. The pair of artists have a long history together as Morgan has written 16 songs that Aldean has cut, including his top-charter, “Trouble With A Heartbreak” and GRAMMY® nominated, ACM Single of the Year and No. 1 hit with Carrie Underwood, “If I Didn’t Love You.”

Morgan also enlisted Aldean to help produce the title track of his debut EP along with “Ain’t Been There Yet” and “Friends Like That.”

“Jason was pretty involved on the production side of ‘Friends’ and it also just kind of fit his world too. It’s very good for his vocal range and all the stars just kind of lined up on it,” Morgan explained. “He hit me up, he’s like, ‘dude, let’s take this to the next level.’ He didn’t have to twist my arm too hard.”

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“Friends Like That” featuring Jason Aldean will officially impact the airwaves on April 22. This also marks the North Carolina native’s very first collaboration as an artist, meaning he felt a lot more pressure to assemble a song he and his fans would be proud of. Luckily, having his mentor by his side through the process was a big weight off his shoulders. 

“He’s been at the top of his game his whole career because he’s just got that voice. When you hear him singing, you know exactly who it is. He just brings that uniqueness to anything and I think really just putting something in his wheelhouse vocally, it was just kind of a double whammy,” Morgan said of the “Let Your Boys Be Country” singer. 

The duet partners got the chance to debut their collaborative version of “Friends Like That” during an acoustic session at Nashville’s 2024 Country Radio Seminar in February. Now Morgan says they have a few more projects in the works together including a performance video for “Friends Like That” and a set of acoustic live videos that will highlight a few other songs that have yet to be announced. 

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“I won’t give too much away, but I’ve been fortunate enough to have written a few songs with him, and so we’re like, why don’t we just go in and do a session where we do what we’re good at, which is play music,” Morgan hinted. “So we just went in and cut a handful of acoustic videos and just plugged in and played and it turned out really cool.”

“I’m really excited to get those out. We did a couple covers and some songs that I’ve written,” he added. 

It’s safe to say that Jason Aldean has made a major impact on Morgan’s career over the years. As a result of how much growth he’s seen in himself as a result, Morgan says he hopes to do pay that kindness forward by offering the same kind of guidance to another aspiring singer/songwriter one day too. 

“I feel like this is how it should be. If an artist believes in somebody enough to be on a song with them and they go to the showcases, they do all the stuff, that really inspires me to be able to do that hopefully to somebody else one day that I really believe in as an artist that really just needs the platform. They just need the foot in the door and, they’re talented enough to handle their own once the ball gets rolling.”

“I’m super, super grateful to Jason, obviously, for taking time out of his schedule. he doesn’t have to do this so I’m super grateful for that edge of it too,” he added. 

John Morgan; Photo by Eric Ryan Anderson
John Morgan; Photo by Eric Ryan Anderson

After putting most of his focus on being a songwriter for other artists the past few years, John Morgan plans to finally use 2024 as the year to dive into his own artistry on a deeper level. With that means a new album that is expected to drop this fall. 

“I’ve always kind of put my artist stuff second and tried to write for other people, which I love doing, I still do, but it’s been cool to just take a minute and write for myself and try to get songs that I want to say as an artist. So I feel really good about it. Hopefully, we’re going to have 10 or 12 songs on the project.”

He added that the theme of the forthcoming collection will be centered around paying homage to his hometown and his home state of North Carolina as well as his experience of becoming a father of two kids. 

“That’s always been a huge part of my life and I never felt like I really did that and I’m like, man, there’s nothing that really represents me any more than North Carolina, especially  Western North Carolina. I just want to write some stuff that represents that and then also stuff that represents where I’m at in life now too. I got a couple of kids and it’s just kind of  been a crazy couple of years on that end of things too. I’m super grateful and just want to kind of touch on both of those areas…I feel really good about it.”

John Morgan is booked to take the stage at a number of festivals this year. More information can be found HERE

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.