College Times

Jason Aldean returns to the road for a summer party

By Melissa Ruggieri, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2012

Updated: Thursday, May 24, 2012


ATLANTA — When we last talked to Jason Aldean, he was preparing to headline a big-for-him arena concert and shrugging off his continued brush-offs at the Country Music Association awards.

That was 18 months ago.

Now, Aldean finally can claim a CMA trophy — two, actually, scored at last fall’s ceremony — a crossover pop hit with Kelly Clarkson and sold-out shows.

So what the heck happened?
“My Kinda Party.” That’s what.

The fourth album released by the country boy from Macon, Ga., is an unqualified smash. It’s sold more than 2.5 million copies since its release in November 2010, spawned five radio hits — including the unusual pairing with Clarkson and “Dirt Road Anthem,” co-written by Georgians Colt Ford and Brantley Gilbert — and earned a best country album Grammy nomination. (He lost to Lady Antebellum.)
Although Aldean, 35, has been touring behind “Party” for more than a year, he assures any repeat customers that this summer’s jaunt, which commenced last week in Birmingham, Ala., and runs through the end of September, is a different beast.

“New production, new opening acts, all that kind of stuff,” Aldean said a few weeks ago, calling from his home in Nashville after just taking his young daughters to school. “The only thing that’s the same about this tour is its name. This is kind of our tour to bridge the gap until the next record.”
Aldean expects to release a single from the upcoming album this summer and around that time will start incorporating some new tunes into his live shows.

He recorded the as-yet-untitled fifth studio effort over a period of a couple of months in Nashville with longtime friend and producer Michael Knox at the helm.

“We weren’t in a big hurry to go in and cut it. You want to make sure you record what is a great record,” Aldean said in his friendly drawl. “There’s stuff on there that’s kinda left of center. Not that you want to go and try to recapture the magic of (‘My Kinda Party’).”
There is another duet on the record, but Aldean isn’t yet spilling the identity of his singing partner, though he did remark that it’s “nothing like the Kelly duet.”
For now, Aldean is enjoying his time on the road with his opening act pal, Luke Bryan, another Georgia native from Leesburg whom Aldean met in 2007. He recalls bumping into the singer at a radio station in Knoxville as he was leaving the building and Bryan was entering.

“It was just one of those things,” Aldean said. “With both of us being from Georgia, we had heard about each other so someone introduced us in the lobby and we just hit it off and became friends in the business and out of the business. I enjoy hanging out with him. His career right now is doing really well and it’s cool to watch that happen for him.”
While Aldean’s mother, who raised him in Macon, now also lives in Nashville, his sister lives just outside of Macon and his father about 40 miles north, in Monticello.

“I try to get back to Georgia as much as I can, but not as much as I’d like, just because I’ve got kids in school and they’re starting to get into sports and stuff,” Aldean said. “But I still love going home. To me, that will always kind of be home.”


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