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In the Spotlight with Jason Aldean

James Minchin III

Sporting a cowboy hat, light blue faded jeans, a strapped guitar, and a whole lot of swagger, Jason Aldean has infected the nation with his Southern twang. The crooner recently scored the top selling country album of 2011 with his fourth record, “My Kinda Party”, while his second single, “Dirt Road Anthem”, inches its way to number one on the Billboard country charts.

Aldean’s success has continued to translate throughout his “My Kinda Party” tour, as nearly every show sold out weeks in advance.

“To think that just a couple of years ago, we were still playing clubs and now we’re able to `sell out 25,000 seat amphitheaters is crazy,” he responds to the massive support. “I still have to rewind a lot of times when we’re playing our shows and think ‘Man, these people are actually here to see us play’. I love it. It’s been great to see where my career has come from in the last few years and fun to look out at all those people and know that they’re there to see us play.”

Since taking the road early this year, the singer admits to catching up on sleep and leaning on fans and loved ones to avoid the tiresome spell of extensive touring.

“For me, the big key is plenty of sleep,” Aldean shares. “That’s my deal. I’m also on the road with my best friends and my fans. You get to travel around and see the country with your friends, and have fun. I enjoy getting on the bus and playing shows.”

Fan support shifts into high gear during concert nights, with countless supporters clutching onto banners, donning Jason Aldean wardrobe, and mouthing along to the setlist.

As the performance unfolds, one of his most popular tracks, “Don’t You Wanna Stay”, earns a hefty ovation. In late 2010, the duet between Aldean and Kelly Clarkson blurred the lines between pop and country, only to overtake mainstream radio airwaves.

“That’s something that I wanted to have fun with,” Aldean says of the effort. “For me, recording with Kelly was cool. That was a big song and I can’t think of anyone better to have on that song than her. It’s different, but I think that’s what being an artist is—experimenting, having fun, and getting to work with other people. I’m sure it won’t be the last time we do it. I’m not trying to make it a signature thing, but at the same time, I welcome the opportunity to work with those people.”

From country-pop collaborations to rap-nuanced tracks, the cowboy’s current album attained stratospheric heights fueled by the potpourri of creative efforts. Aldean maintains, however, that the mindset for his upcoming album will remain the same.

“If you start trying to beat everything on the last record,” he explains, “you’re setting yourself up for failure. That’s something that I try not to put a lot of thought into. My records have always been about finding songs that I thought were cool and things that I would want to listen to. That’s always been the way we recorded and it’ll probably be the way we’ll always do it. Obviously, you’re going to have certain records that are going to do better than others, but a lot of that depends on the songs that are available at that time. That’s stuff that you can’t predict.”

Despite the rising fame, Aldean sustains a humble attitude and career outlook. The singer recently joined the ranks of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Keith Urban in being nominated for CMT’s 20 Greatest Men. Though the career-defining honor places Aldean among the crème de la crème of country music, he instead marvels at the opportunity of being acknowledged alongside his influences.

“It’s crazy whenever you make a list like that, and you think of all the male acts who have shaped country music to what it is today,” he states in disbelief. “Any time I hear something like that, it’s flattering. It is a little mindboggling, but at the same time, it’s cool to be mentioned in anything with those guys.”

Credits: Jason Aldean, Tyne Whitten

© Veronika Tacheva, 2011. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without written permission from the author is strictly prohibited.

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