Jason Aldean is one of the most prominent voices in modern country music, but good luck trying to put the guy in a stylistic box.
One of his biggest hits is named after country icon Johnny Cash, and you can’t get much more country than the farm-centered lyrics in “Amarillo Sky” or “Big Green Tractor.” On the other hand, the guitar chords on “She’s Country” sound more like AC/DC than Merle Haggard; his current single, “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” teams Jason with pop singer Kelly Clarkson; and he even has a rap section on “Dirt Road Anthem,” one of the key tracks on his current album My Kinda Party.
Jason grew up on the outskirts of Macon, Ga., and his background brought all of those different musical threads together.
“I listen to everything, honestly,” he says. “I mean, if you pull out my iPod and just kinda put it on random play, you’ll hear everything from Johnny Rodriguez to John Mellencamp to Eminem to Kanye West, whatever. It’s Def Leppard, I mean ‘80s rock, ‘90s rock, country, you know, John Anderson, Alabama, all that stuff — Hank [Williams] Jr. — that’s the stuff I grew up on, and so it’s a little bit of everything. And plus I got kids now, so we get in the car and they hear a Black Eyed Peas song or somethin’, they start screamin’ in the back of the car if you turn it. You start learnin’ songs that way.”
If all those acts aren’t enough to create a musical mishmash, Jason has been known to throw in Guns N’ Roses covers during his live shows, too. Those shows start up again after the first of the year, when he kicks off the My Kinda Party Tour in Little Rock Jan. 21. He has 32 dates lined up for the spring with two opening acts: Eric Church and the JaneDear girls.