Jason Aldean enjoys taking the stage
Jason Aldean knows what he has to do every time he walks out onstage.
He's not going to just stand at the microphone and sing, especially now that he's headlining arena and pavilion shows. He's going to deliver more than just a live version of the songs that bring people in to see him.
"If somebody wants to hear you sing, they can go buy the record and pay 12 or 15 bucks," Aldean says. "When they pay 40 or 50 bucks for a ticket, they want to be entertained. There's a difference between being a singer and an entertainer. I consider myself more of an entertainer than a singer."
Well, maybe not just an entertainer. Aldean, who performs on Friday at First Niagara Pavilion in Burgettstown, really sees himself as an entertainer who can sing or a singer who can entertain.
"There's plenty of people that can sing and plenty that can go out and be entertaining and can't sing a lick -- you usually call those people comedians," he says. "To be able to sing and be an entertainer, that's what you want, that's what you have to do. It's something you can't fake. You're either born with it, or you hone your skills for years and years."
Aldean, who's 34, might have been born with it. But the hottest act in country music has been honing his skills for more than half his life. Learning guitar from his dad while he was in middle school, Aldean started playing with a house band in a Georgia nightclub at 15, and played clubs across the Southeast before moving to Nashville in 1998.
He landed a deal with indie Broken Bow Records, released his self-titled debut in early 2005 and was named Top New Male Vocalist at the 2006 Academy of Country Music Awards. By then, Aldean and his band had graduated to arenas, first opening for bigger acts, then, as his popularity increased, headlining his shows.
"Bars are where I started. I'm really comfortable playing in bars," he says. "When it comes to arenas, I look at that as a big ... nightclub. It was something I was looking forward to, to get to that level."
Now, that he's made it there, Aldean is a happy man.
"I love it, man," he says. "The big stage is it. Playing an arena allows the people to see our full show and not some stripped-down version of what we want them to see."
What follows is a show packed with hits that are more rockin' than most contemporary Nashville fare.
"Every artist wants to find their own thing, what makes them unique and special. I think that's what makes being an artist cool," he says. "Mine came from the days of me playing a George Strait song, then turning around and playing a John Mellencamp song and then playing a Guns N' Roses song. Over time, you don't even think about it. It becomes your thing."
His stylistic mix likely has deeper roots than the songs he played coming up. Aldean is from Macon, Ga., the home of the Allman Brothers and legendary Southern rock label Capricorn Records, soul great Otis Redding and the quasar of rock 'n' roll, Little Richard.
"It is hard to grow up somewhere like that and not be
influenced by all kinds of music," he says. "I spent a lot of time listening to all those people, the Allmans, Otis, Little Richard."
Aldean's jacked-up brand of country likely wouldn't have made it through the filter of Nashville's major labels. But Broken Bow let the headstrong Georgian make the music he wanted to make -- from Day 1.
"Fortunately, for me, I'm on a smaller label that allows me the freedom to experiment, to do my thing and do it the way I want to and not put a stranglehold on it," Aldean says. "Because of that, it's allowed us to find our sound. A lot of labels shape and mold the artist, and take all the creativity and freshness out of it."
Aldean's music really has connected during the past two years. The combination of "She's Country," "Big Green Tractor" and "The Truth" had Aldean spending more time at No. 1 in 2009-10 than other any male country artist.
Then, came last fall's chart-topping album "My Kinda Party," which generated the No. 2 hits "Crazy Town" and the title cut, and the current single, "Dirt Road Anthem," just recently hit No. 1. This has helped propel Aldean into larger venues.
"I can't complain at all," he says. "The last year has been pretty amazing. ... (Last year's success) is a combination of a lot of things. It's definitely a being-in-the-right-place-at- the-right-time sort of thing. But it's also being prepared when your time comes.
I wanted to make sure it didn't slip away."Additional Information:
With: Chris Young and Thompson Square
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Admission: Sold out; no tickets will be sold at the show.
Where: First Niagara Pavilion, Burgettstown
Details: 800-746-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins need trade-deadline acquisitions to bring toughness
- Blue Jays’ Martin has ‘nothing but praise’ for former Pirates teammates
- Panthers still clinging to hope entering home finale
- Gorman: Indiana has its ‘Hoosiers’
- 10th DUI earns Uptown man 1st prison sentence
- Southmoreland, Mt. Pleasant wrestlers look forward to states
- Mt. Lebanon senior Stout has legacy that links to Kurt Angle
- Burrell’s Beattie taking final shot at PIAA title
- Pitt’s Wright excelling in classroom
- Pittsburgh Tribune-Review athletes of the week: South Fayette’s Mike Carr, Blackhawk’s Courtney Vannoy
- Safety Vinopal, other former Panthers perform for NFL scouts at Pitt’s Pro Day