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Five questions with country artist Jason Michael Carroll
Country artist Jason Michael Carroll performs Saturday at Wild Bill's in Duluth.

Jason Michael Carroll

When: 9:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Wild Bill's, 2075 Market Street, Duluth
How much: $14-$25 (VIP seats also available)
More info: 678-417-0477

When Jason Michael Carroll writes a song, he's not just looking for a great tune or a catchy chorus, he's also looking for something that speaks to who he is as a person.

Now touring to support his second album, "Growing Up Is Getting Old," this North Carolina-raised son of a preacher is exploring his generation's transition from partying to parenthood with new songs such as "Where I'm From," which climbed to the top 10 of country music charts. The second single, "Hurry Home," is in the top 20.

Carroll will be performing Saturday at Wild Bill's in Duluth, and we spoke with him while he was between shows in Nashville, Tenn., about the state of country music and the inspiration behind his personal songs.

Question: In recent years some country songs have gotten pretty rough around the edges. What do you make of the state of country music today?

Answer: I think that country music is really at the point where kind of anything goes. It's really kind of that raw nature of it all. You get to a point where taboo subjects, like "Hurry Home" with runaways ... are not frowned upon or people aren't scared to go there. Which is exciting for a songwriter because a lot of times you sit down to write a song and if the message comes to you, it's a message that comes out nonetheless.

Q: Do you think a good song is one that stays true to yourself?

A: I think so -the fact that writing a song means something to you. You have some really good songwriters out there, but to write a song that means something and actually has a purpose, rather than occupying time in the car, that's impressive to me.

Q: Do you have a style of writing when it comes to your music?

A: I think that really I've written some songs that sound nothing like me, songs that I feel would be perfect for other artists, but at the same time (the songs) have to be true to myself, with things I've done or seen.

A lot of people in the country market feel you can put out a song because it's a hit, and while that's true at times, the country music listeners aren't stupid.

So to write something that's true to you, and not the fact that you recorded it for a cool lyric, I think that's important. And maybe (it will) promote longevity.

Q: What is it like touring with the likes of Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson and Carrie Underwood?

A: Those folks are awesome. And having the chance to tour with Brooks & Dunn was amazing. And then to go out with Carrie, who is new to the format but has worked her tail off and has gotten a long way.

Q: Your song "Livin' Our Love Song" has sold more than 500,000 ringtones and ringbacks. What is it like to be standing in line somewhere and hear your song on someone's phone?

A: It's pretty wild that somebody would even think of my song to be a staple or a soundtrack to a moment in time to someone. It's amazing.