Jason Aldean Invites Fans to ‘My Kinda Party’
Jason Aldean fans who pick up his eagerly anticipated fourth studio album, 'My Kinda Party,' may have a hard time believing that the multi-platinum-selling artist didn't write the 15 songs. The stories in 'Tattoos on This Town' about drag racing in pickup trucks and swinging from trees ... to the oft-forgotten working men and women in Indiana, Oklahoma and other 'Fly Over States' ... to the Saturday night excitement that comes after putting in a hard week's work as told on the album's title track, are just what Jason's fans know he's all about.
In fact, Jason's hits including 'She's Country,' 'Big Green Tractor' and 'The Truth' have made him such a well-known and beloved member of the country music community, that it's difficult to believe he's only made four albums. And what magic those albums have been, boosting him to the No.1 male artist in country music based on sales and radio airplay in 2009, helping him sell out arenas across the country and break attendance records previously set by Kenny Chesney, George Strait and Toby Keith, and winning him more No.1 weeks on the charts than any other country artist last year. Little wonder he's just received more award nominations, this time for Country Male Artist and Country Album at the American Music Awards and another for Male Artist of the Year from the American Country Awards.
Although, Jason's much more than a country music hit maker. He and his wife Jessica have two daughters, Keely (7) and Kendryl (3). Jason and Jessica take great pride is keeping their lives as normal and fun as possible. Yet Jason also takes plenty of time to reach out to others through charitable events such as a turkey fry for the homeless that Tracy Lawrence started and concerts to raise funds for cancer research.
The Boot recently caught up with Jason as he traveled in his tour bus through the Midwest. He talked about his new album, why he wanted Kelly Clarkson as a duet partner, and why the skies aren't always so friendly.
How did your success with your last album, 'Wide Open,' impact this current album?
With the success we had with 'Wide Open,' we wanted to go out and find some really great songs for this album. We were in the studio every off day we had. We never go out to reinvent the wheel, but I know what works for me and I stick with it. This album has my sound and the [type of songs] that brought me to the dance. It's OK to go out and experiment here and there but we don't want to alienate fans that like what we do. It's obviously a little different [than past albums], but it is the sound people have come to expect from us. It's aggressive and loud.
The songs on the album seem to embody your whole spirit. Tell us about how you selected them.
It's a very long process. It's one of those things that you sit there and listen to hundreds of songs until you find ones you like. I've never gone in and looked for a specific type of song for any record. It's one of those things, you just know it when you find it. Sometimes finding those songs takes longer than at other times. For this record, we went to some proven hit maker guys and we found some great stuff. Every once in a while you find a new writer no one has ever heard of. That's what happened with Bridgette Tatum who [co-wrote with Danny Myrick the song] 'She's Country.' We gave her her first single. But at the end of the day, it's all about having the right songs for the record.
Did you feel any pressure to put songs you had written on this album?
No, I didn't. I know I can write songs. I have had a publishing deal for years, and other artists have cut my songs. It's one of those things that I am my own worst critic. Sometimes I write something and my producer and my band loves the song but I'm a lot harder on it. I just want to record the best songs. I don't want to force one of my songs on an album just because I wrote it.
Speaking of your band, we hear your drummer, Rich Redmond, is really funny. What does he do to keep you guys laughing?
He's a piece of work. He's Italian and very in your face, which is cool. There are about four of us in the band that met 10 or 12 years ago when we all came to Nashville. We all came up in the business together. It's just one of those things that everyone has their own unique personality and this guy has no filter. He's also the best drummer I ever played with, period.
Which song on the album really hits a personal note with you?
One of the biggest ones is 'Fly Over States.' That is one that had gotten pitched for the 'Wide Open' record. I loved it but the song came in late in the game. At that point, we didn't have a place to put it on the record. When we went to put this album together, the song was still available. I just found myself listening to the demo over and over and over. That's something you have got to pay attention to, when you go back and listen to it over and over and over. You just have to go with your gut. If I don't get tired of it, I don't think my fans will either.
Have you experienced some of what the song is about -- people from big cities who don't have any concept of what life is like for those in 'Fly Over States'/
Oh, absolutely. In the first couple years of my career, I was on flights every morning at 6:00 AM. All I wanted to do was sleep, and these business guys would be talking and talking and just wouldn't shut up.
When I go into record or pick a song, the biggest thing for me is to choose songs that I can relate to because I lived it or have been through it. That way you can sing the song with more conviction because you feel the emotion within it.
You've talked about all the red tape you had to go through to enable Kelly Clarkson to sing a duet with you on 'Don't You Want To Stay.' Why did you want to sing that duet with her?
We had this song and we wanted to find somebody to sing it with me. The list of candidates was short. I wanted somebody who had some chops. It wasn't like any female singer could pull it off. Kelly has got this really cool, very soulful and distinctive sound. She wasn't the obvious choice. She was a little different. Plus, I am a fan and love her voice and style. It was cool just to listen to her in the studio.
What is the most important thing for your fans to know about this album?
For the price, they get 15 songs. Right now everybody is trying to do the EPs for less money. Why not give them more songs for less money? It seems like the right thing to do in this economy.