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Interview:
Jason Aldean's still having his kind of "Party"
 

By GARY GRAFF
for Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

Jason Aldean was hot four months ago, when he headlined and closed Detroit’s WYCD Downtown Hoedown before tens of thousands on a rainy Sunday evening.



And he’s hardly cooled off since.



The Georgia-born country singer is still reveling in the success of his fourth album, 2010’s “My Kinda Party.” The set debuted atop Billboard’s Country Albums chart last November at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. It’s been certified double-platinum and has spun off three platinum-or-better hits — the title track, “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Kelly Clarkson and “Dirt Road Anthem.” The latter two hit No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs survey, while a fourth single, “Tattoos on This Town,” is on the rise.



And after scoring four CMT Music Award nominations earlier this year, Aldean is up for five Country Music Association Awards, including Entertainer of the Year and Album of the Year.



“Obviously, man, I’m excited, really excited, for all this,” says Aldean, 34, who resides near Nashville with his wife Jessica and their two young daughters, Keeley and Kendyl. “I think it’s just a combination of a lot of things — obviously a combination of some songs we had and just being around now for whatever its been, six years or so, and more people just being aware of us.



“I think it was just kind of a perfect storm for us this year. The songs did well. The album’s doing well. The tour is doing stupid-good. I mean, it’s been everything coming together this year, and I just think more people are kind of aware of what we’re doing now and kind of taking notice.”



Because of that, Aldean feels he has “as good a shot as anybody” at taking home some CMA trophies in November.



“I don’t really care about nominations if we don’t have a shot at winning,” Aldean explains. “You don’t show up to the game to sit on the bench, y’know. You show up because you want to play, and that’s how I’ve always felt about it.



“I feel like this year was kind of our breakout year, so I think I have legitimate shot at actually winning one of them. I’m pumped up about the show and being there. It’ll be a whole different experience being there this time than it’s been before at awards shows.”



Nevertheless, Aldean won’t be sitting around wringing his hands as he waits for the ceremony. For starters he’s still on tour and focused on maintaining his streak of No. 1 hits with “Tattoos on This Town.” “It reminds me of growing up as a teenager,” Aldean says of the song, which kicks off “My Kinda Party.” “It just kind of talks about all the things that I did as a teenager, and I just fell in love with the song.



“It had more adds (on radio) than we’ve ever had before, on any song, so we’ve got a lot of momentum going right now and you just want to make sure that you keep trying to put out good songs and don’t do anything to slow yourself down at all.”



Another single from “My Kinda Party” is possible, according to Aldean. “We said before the album even came out that we felt we had five or six singles if we wanted to do that,” he notes. “The public will tell you when they’re ready for a new record.” Aldean and his fans are getting ready for that day, too; he’s headed back into the studio in October to start recording his fifth album, which he hopes to have finished by the beginning of 2012.



“It doesn’t really take shape until you get in there,” Aldean says. “We’ve got a pile of probably 20, 25 songs, and once you start to narrow that down to about 12 or 15 songs, then it will take it’s shape.



“But I’m really excited about the stuff we’ve got right now. You’re always looking for hits and great songs, and I feel like we’ve got those early in the game right now. I feel like it’s a great record already.”



Aldean acknowledges that most of the material is coming from other writers — and that there’s been more of it in the wake of his success. “All of a sudden you have people that are starting to write songs specifically for you, which is something we never had before and is pretty cool,” Aldean says. And that’s just one of the changes that he’s encountering these days.



“A lot of times, as an artist, you’re not really aware of what’s going on out there,” Aldean explains. “You’re so wrapped up playing your shows and traveling, and you’re not aware at how big things are. So it’s not until you go out somewhere and people start coming up to you and it becomes a little bit of a mob scene — then you start to realize that things are getting pretty crazy.



“That’s definitely happened to me. It’s been a little different this year, yeah. I think for anybody it’s different to adjust to all that stuff, but I’m trying to take it as it comes, ‘cause it’s what I wanted, y’know?”



Jason Aldean, Chris Young, Thompson Square and DJ Silver perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are sold out. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.





Web Site: www.palacenet.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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