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Jason Aldean Blazes a Long Trail

Country singer Jason Aldean grew up in Macon, Georgia, and had a passion for country music from an early age. His father taught him some guitar basics, drawing out chords for Jason to practice. Soon enough, Aldean was listening to iconic artists like George Strait and Alabama, learning their tunes by ear. One of his favorites was Alabama‘s “My Home’s in Alabama.”

Written by Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry, “My Home’s in Alabama” first appeared on the band’s album of the same name in 1980. The auto-biographical tune is credited with putting Alabama (the band) on the map. Since that time, numerous artists have covered it on albums and in concert.

Other artists who have covered “My Home’s in Alabama”:

Jason Aldean
Alan Jackson
Kenny Chesney
Brad Paisley
Little Big Town
Taylor Hicks
Jamey Johnson
Atlanta Rhythm Section
TSU Sound of the South Marching Band
University of Alabama Marching Band

 

Lyrics to “My Home’s in Alabama”:

>Drinkin’ was forbidden in my Christian country home

I learned to play the flattop on them good ol’ Gospel songs

Then I heard about the barrooms just across the Georgia line

Where a boy could make a livin’ playin’ guitar late at night

Had to learn about the ladies, too young to understand

Why the young girls fall in love with the boys in the band

When the boys turn to music, the girls just turn away

To some other guitar picker in some other late night place

Yeah, held on to my music, I let the ladies walk away

Took my songs and dreams to Nashville then I moved on to L.A.

Up to New York City all across the USA

I lost so much of me but there’s enough of me to say that my

Home’s in Alabama, no matter where I lay my head

My home’s in Alabama, Southern born and Southern bred

What keeps me goin’ I don’t really know

Can’t be the money Lord knows I’m always broke

Could it be the satisfaction of bein’ understood

When the people really love ya and let you know when it’s good

Oh I’ll speak my Southern English just as natural as I please

I’m in the heart of Dixie, Dixie’s in the heart of me

And someday when I make it, when love finds a way

Somewhere high on Lookout Mountain I’ll just smile with pride and say that my

Home’s in Alabama, no matter where I lay my head

My home’s in Alabama, Southern born and Southern bred

Southern born and Southern bred

Southern born and Southern bred

And my home’s in Alabama, no matter where I lay my head

My home’s in Alabama, Southern born and Southern bred

Southern born and Southern bred

Southern born and Southern bred

Because Alabama was a particularly influential band on the young musicians tastes, when Aldean was working on his latest album, My Kinda Party, he recruited the band’s frontman, Randy Owen, to make a contribution. Although that tune didn’t make the final cut, Aldean has cited the experience as a defining moment in his life.

A tune that did make the cut was the wildly popular duet with Kelly Clarkson, “Don’t You Wanna Stay.” Written by Andy Gibson, Paul Jenkins, and Jason Sellers, the song found its way to radio by popular demand after Aldean and Clarkson performed it together at 44th annual Country Music Association Awards in November of 2010.

Fans weren’t the only ones to enjoy “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” either. Critics considered it “a classic power ballad” and cited the appealing effect of combining the two singers’ voices.

“Don’t You Wanna Stay” climbed all the way to the top of Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart – Aldean’s fifth single to do so and Clarkson’s first – and even made it number 31 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 pop chart. The song was such a hit, it sold more than a million copies.

The making of “Don’t You Wanna Stay”:

Lyrics to “Don’t You Wanna Stay”:

[Jason Aldean]

I really hate to let this moment go
Touching your skin, and your hair falling slow
When a goodbye kiss, feels like this

[Kelly Clarkson and Jason Aldean]
Don’t you wanna stay here a little while?
Don’t you wanna hold each other tight?
Don’t you wanna fall asleep with me tonight?
Don’t you wanna stay here a little while?
We can make forever feel this way
Don’t you wanna stay?

[Kelly Clarkson]
Let’s take it slow, I don’t wanna move too fast
I don’t wanna just make love, I wanna make love last
When you’re on this high, it’s a sad goodbye

[Kelly Clarkson and Jason Aldean]
Don’t you wanna stay here a little while?
Don’t you wanna hold each other tight?
Don’t you wanna fall asleep with me tonight?
Don’t you wanna stay here a little while?
We can make forever feel this way
Don’t you wanna stay?

[Kelly Clarkson]
Oh yeeah

[Jason Aldean]
Oh, you feel so perfect, baby

[Kelly Clarkson]
That it feels so perfect, baby

[Kelly Clarkson and Jason Aldean]
Don’t you wanna stay here a little while?
Don’t you wanna stay here a little while?
Don’t you wanna hold each other tight?
Don’t you wanna fall asleep with me tonight?
Don’t you wanna stay here a little while?
We can make forever feel this way
Don’t you wanna stay?

[Kelly Clarkson]
Don’t you wanna stay

To make the most of the momentum generated by “Don’t You Wanna Stay” and the other singles off of the double-platinum My Kinda Party – the title track, “Dirt Road Anthem,” and “Tattoos on This Town” – Aldean has been touring up a storm since the album’s release on November 2, 2010.

He said of the banner year he’s had, “I think it was just kind of perfect storm for us this year. The songs did well. The album’s doing well. The tour is doing stupid-good.” Although he’s 11 months into it, more dates still lie ahead on Jason Aldean’s My Kinda Party Tour.

Aldean just last week played a show in Roanoke that was selected to be his Sixth Annual Concert for the Cure. All proceeds from the performance – about $315,000 – were donated to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer research fund.

Of his involvement, Aldean noted, “Breast cancer is something that’s affected me, my family and just about everyone I know. Last year, we took the benefit on the road and raised a lot of money in Evansville, Ind. … it’s amazing what we can do and how much money we can raise when we all come together for this cause.”

So far on the My Kinda Party Tour, Aldean has been playing all the hits and then some, even throwing in some fun cover tunes during the encore.

September 2011 Jason Aldean Set List:

1. Tattoos On This Town
2. Amarillo Sky
3. Big Green Tractor
4. Why
5. The Truth
6. Crazy Town
7. See You When I See You
8. Don’t You Wanna Stay
9. Texas Was You
10. My Kinda Party
11. Dirt Road Anthem
12. Johnny Cash
13. Relentless
14. Hicktown

Encore:
15. Wanted Dead Or Alive (Bon Jovi cover)
16. She’s Country
17. Cowboy (Kid Rock cover)

The set list reflects Jason’s discography from top to bottom, reaching back through his career’s worth of singles and touching on each of his four albums.

Aldean’s most recent single, “Tattoos on This Town,” dropped a couple of weeks ago and the accompanying video is already creating a buzz thanks to its less-than-happy ending.

Aldean says of the song, “You’re just out having fun, growing up wherever you grew up and doing all these things that helped shape you as an adult. But I think as a teen, you don’t realize that your teenage years are going to be some of the best years of your life.”

Although Aldean is said to be starting work on his next album this month, some concert dates are already on tap for 2012, as well. On February 24, Luke Bryan opens for Jason Aldean in Nashville at Bridgestone Arena.

By then, Aldean may well have his new record in the bag: “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.”

Getting into the studio is a good way for Aldean to take his mind off the upcoming Country Music Association Awards. Last month, the nominations were announced and Aldean tied with Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, and Brad Paisley for the most nods with five each. Among his nominations are Entertainer of the Year, Album of the Year for “My Kinda Party,” and Male Vocalist of the Year.

The CMA’s recognition proves that Aldean has finally, officially arrived after previous years had only found him in the newcomers’ category. He joked, “I said this morning that I kinda feel like the ugly stepsister that finally got an invite to the ball. You never expect nominations … but I knew we had had a good year. So to get one is cool, but to leave there and have five is a big day for and me and everybody in my camp.”

On November 9, the world will be watching as Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood host the 45th Annual CMA Awards at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. Aldean will perform at the ceremony, as will Swift, Shelton, and Paisley, along with Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum, Keith Urban, and more.

45th Annual CMA Awards:

This year marks the fourth year in a row that Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood will host the CMA Awards. Between them, the two artists have racked up 19 awards. Last year, Paisley took home the Entertainer of the Year prize.

Of his encore hosting duties, Paisley enthused, “I love working with Carrie, she’s a class act and a complete balance to my non-class act. I’ll try my best to not mess it up.”

The powers that be see it from a different perspective. Steve Moore, CMA’s Chief Executive Officer, observed, “They have the unique qualities of humor, talent, credibility, and natural rapport that makes them a hit with the fans and the industry audience. The CMA Awards are in great hands with Brad and Carrie at the podium.”

Whether or not Aldean goes home on November 9 with any statues, he’s done more than well for himself. No doubt the 14-year-old who discovered his passion for music on stage at the VFW Hall in Macon, Georgia, would be astonished by the massive success his older self has achieved. And he’s really just getting started.

Aldean has only been around for half a dozen years now. Out of 14 singles, six have topped the country chart and another six have cracked the top 10. Only one of his albums, 2007′s Relentless, has failed to go platinum, with My Kinda Party achieving double-platinum status. If Aldean were playing baseball, he’d have an unbelievable batting average.

Jason Aldean’s Discography:

Albums

Jason Aldean – 2005

Relentless - 2007

Wide Open – 2009

My Kinda Party – 2010

Singles

“Hicktown”
“Why”
“Amarillo Sky”
“Johnny Cash”
“Laughed Until We Cried”
“Relentless”
“She’s Country”
“Big Green Tractor”
“The Truth”
“Crazy Town”
“My Kinda Party”
“Don’t You Wanna Stay” (duet with Kelly Clarkson)
“Dirt Road Anthem”
“Tattoos on This Town”

DVDs
Wide Open Live & More

Like some of his country colleagues, he’s even made in-roads on the pop charts. Having Kelly Clarkson sing alongside you certainly helps. But another one of Aldean’s collaborations also pushed him over the top on that side of the genre box. His performance of “Dirt Road Anthem” with hip hop phenom Ludacris at the 2011 CMT Awards gave that cut traction that it might not have enjoyed otherwise.

Aldean acknowledged of picking Ludacris to join him, “…even though our music is totally different, our roots are the same. We both know about hot Georgia summers and cooling off with a six pack or two. It wasn’t that much of a stretch.”

Since their joint CMT Awards appearance, the song has been remixed to add Luda to the studio version with an iTunes release in early June of that version. In its first three months, the track sold more than two million downloads making Aldean the first solo male country artist to hit that mark. So hot is the cut that uber-cool club DJ Pitbull even did a dance remix.

A review of the tune may offer a clue as to why it has struck such a vibrant chord among listeners: “Few songs have come along that serve such a valid sociological purpose as ‘Dirt Road Anthem.’ With this single, Jason Aldean pulls back the curtain on the mysterious ways of rural southern society. How fearless of Aldean to allow outsiders this rare glimpse into the social mores and recreational activities of southern youth.”

But the credit shouldn’t actually go to Aldean, here. The track was written by Colt Ford and Brantley Gilbert who also penned “My Kinda Party.” Both Ford (on 2008′s Ride through the Country) and Gilbert (on 2010′s Halfway to Heaven) have previously recorded their own versions of “Dirt Road Anthem.”

Here’s Aldean’s original album version:

By bringing outside elements (like Ludacris) into country music, Aldean proves that he is among the new breed in that genre. And, seeing as he’s only 34, he has a long road ahead of him because country music greats are like Energizer bunnies – they keep going and going.

If he continues to push his own creative envelope and surround himself with other artistic forces of nature, Aldean will more than likely keep that batting average well above the norm.

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