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 more than two years ago.
Now, Aldean finally can claim a CMA trophy – two, actually, scored at 2011’s ceremony – a crossover pop hit with Kelly Clarkson, two more Academy of Country Music awards this year – male vocalist of the year and vocal event of the year, for “The Only Way I Know” with buddy Luke Bryan – 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., was 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.
Aldean, 36, toured behind “Party” for more than a year. His current “Night Train” tour, with Jake Owen and Thomas Rhett, has been going strong since February and will pull into the Spokane Arena on Wednesday night.
He recorded “Night Train” – released on Oct. 16, 2012 – 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. “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’).”
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.”