- Just a good ol boy
For all his recent fame and country-boy good looks, Jason Aldean is surprisingly bashful.
"I think of myself as a pretty normal dude. I just don't try to over-think a lot of that stuff," he says.
This "normal dude" recently scored a gold record for his self-titled debut. But success didn't come easy for Aldean. In fact, he's pretty lucky to have obtained it at all.
After joining a house band at age 15, he went on to pursue music in Nashville. He scored big when he landed a contract with Capitol, but after a corporate shuffling of their bigwigs, Aldean was dropped, a casualty of the crossfire.
At that point, says Aldean, he was looking for anyone to give him a shot. Finally, in 2004, independent label Broken Bow took him in, and the relationship fit like a worn pair of boots.
"The thing that I hated about being on a major label is the fact that they have artists that are more of a priority than you are -- until you prove that you're a priority, too," he says. "Here [at Broken Bow], I was a priority from day one."
But just when things were getting settled, Aldean was dealt another blow: He was cut loose from his songwriting publishing company. Again, he got caught in a changeover dust devil, but ended up on top.
His album, while not necessarily blowing critics away, has proved popular with listeners. It's often described as "heartfelt," but more accurately is "relevant."
The hit single "Hicktown" is pure pop-country, the kind designed to make you feel a sense of civic pride as you slide on your shitkickers. The lyrics, full of small-town imagery, read like a Blue Collar Tour checklist: football games, Pall Malls and trucks. That it includes the words "buck wild" and "butt crack" ensure its place among party favorites for years to come.
Though Aldean supplemented his income for years as a songwriter, he contributed only three songs to his own album. He went into the studio with songs in tow, but, he says, the final-cut battle is a battle of the fittest.
"Actually, I don't want to write every song on my album," he says. "There's a lot of good songwriters in Nashville, and I think if you try to write everything, you're going to miss out on a lot of good songs that way."
And that formula's working. After all, the guy has a plaque with a gold record. Now he's just got to figure out where to display it.
"I got me a good spot picked out. It's going in my game room, I think. I'm hoping it won't be the last one I get, so I'm trying to save some room for more."
-- Kara Luger
Cowboys, 3910 Palmer Park Blvd.
Friday, Jan. 20, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $15; call 596-1212 for more info.