COOKEVILLE – Did Jake Hoot get a glimpse into his not-so-distant future as he was filming his newest music video, “Night Left,” on a warm July night in Cookeville? Maybe so, but he definitely had a had a good time doing it.
The video, directed by Taylor Ballentyne, was filmed entirely in Putnam County, and featured Hoot as the father of a teenage girl leaving with her boyfriend for a date. Hoot just cannot let the couple leave the yard without reminding them of her curfew and that nothing good happens after midnight.
The sly grin his daughter throws over her shoulder as they tear out of the driveway lets the viewer know that she’s not quite as innocent as dad hopes she is. The couple is then seen partying at a bonfire where there’s scenes of drinking, dancing and making out.
Hoot pulls double duty as Papa Hoot and as singer of the bonfire band, effectively aging 20 years in the blink of an eye as the video flashes from the party at the bonfire to the father checking his watch and wondering where his daughter could be.
Local couple Karleigh Krieg, of Celina, and James Winningham, of Albany, Ky., were chosen from many applicants who responded to Hoot’s casting call shared through Instagram.
When it came to finding a location for the video, it was a no brainer according to Hoot.
“When we talked about doing this – the country and the feel of what the video is going to be – I said, ‘We are going to find a place in Cookeville, and we are going to do this.’ It definitely worked out.”
This is Hoot’s third video since getting into the studio last fall, and each of the three has been very different.
La Bamba was an in-studio video directed by Alejandro Medina, and Hoot just wanted to show the fun that he was having being in the studio with his friends.
“I just wanted it to look like a party,” said Hoot. “I remember the ‘We Are the World’ videos and how everybody was having a good time. So, I told him to watch those and then come shoot it.”
Taylor (Ballantyne) was the director of the video for “I Would’ve Loved You” filmed out in LA with Kelly Clarkson, Hoot’s second video, and this will be the third one.
“With Alejandro, it was more of act yourself in the studio. These are more – especially this one – are more acting. I’ve got to be the dad, and then I’ll be in the band. It’s going to be fun for people to see my more comedic side. I’ll get to be more myself and show the goofy side that people see off stage.”
As Hoot laughed and joked with the crew while filming, he was preparing himself for another run of shows set to begin the next day with an early publicity event followed by a nighttime show in Alabama.
Although filming for the video went well after midnight, he was excited about surprising his band the next morning with a more spacious used RV to replace the 12-passenger loaner van that they have been traveling in.
“I can’t say enough about the support that we’ve received from Whit Carlen, owner of Carlen Chevrolet,” said Hoot. Carlen had loaned Hoot the van that the band used to travel to concerts, often taking turns sleeping on its bench seats.
This summer, Hoot has had the opportunity to play a multitude of shows in and around Cookeville and has loved every minute of it.
As Hoot recounted his many Upper Cumberland shows, he smiled and said, “It’s nice because I get to see so many familiar faces every time I come out here.”
Hoot’s career is really taking off with shows booked through late fall spanning the country.
“It’s always special to come back home and play, but it’s also very special to have other states be like ‘Hey you need to come out here and play,’” shared Hoot.
Hoot has been playing some big shows and has more on the horizon. He opened for Darius Rucker in Kingsport and then drove to Pennsylvania to open for Alabama. North and South Dakota are on the books for August.
In September, Hoot is playing the World Championship Chili Cookoff in Isle of Palm, SC on Sept. 18, followed the next weekend by performing on a famous corner at Standin’ on the Corner 2021 24 in Winslow, Ariz. on Sept 24.
Working with some of the biggest names in country has catapulted Hoot from small clubs and festivals to performing arena shows in just a matter of months.
“I tell people that the Opry is the only stage that makes me nervous but being in an arena for the first time – when those lights went off and then that spotlight hits you, I was like ‘Oh my Gosh. This is the big leagues now.’ I was very nervous. It took me like two songs to calm down, but it’s been great.”
Hoot is already working on songs for his next album and teased that he’s co-written he perfect duet song to perform with his beautiful wife, Brittney, titled “Wherever Time Goes.” You heard it here first.
The next album looks to be a full 12-13 song album to quench the thirst of Hoot’s fans who are eagerly awaiting more new tunes.
“I’ve been writing with some incredible writers, and we’ve been getting a lot of good stuff put down on document now,” as he shared songwriters don’t just use paper and pen anymore.
Look for Hoot’s next album in early 2022, with an original duet from the newlyweds, Jake and Brittney.