Just five albums into his career, Jason Aldean has punched his ticket into one of the most exclusive clubs in country music. He's joined Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan and Taylor Swift in the elite club of country artists able to headline stadium shows – as evidenced by sold-out shows this summer in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Washington, D.C. and Pittsburgh.
He's selling lots of music, too. His 2010 album, My Kinda Party, cemented Aldean's status as a premier hit maker. Having moved nearly three million copies and spawned five number one singles (including "Don't You Wanna Stay," a duet with Kelly Clarkson that crossed over to the pop charts), "My Kinda Party" was some kinda blockbuster.
Such success, though, comes with a price – namely the reality that his follow-up album, the recently released Night Train, would be judged by the standard set with My Kinda Party.
"I remember when we made the My Kinda Party album, we had those songs that we felt like were cool," Aldean recalled in a recent phone interview. "We just went in and cut what we felt like was a great record, which is kind of the attitude we've had every time we've gone in the studio."
He began his career playing gigs around Georgia, Alabama and Florida; it was a show in Atlanta in 1998 where he was "discovered." Michael Knox, a representative with Warner Chappell Music Publishing, came to that concert and immediately offered Aldean a songwriting deal with the firm.
Soon after going to work with Warner Chappell, Aldean landed a record deal with Capitol Records. Unfortunately, that deal fell apart before he was able to release an album. Aldean's now signed to Broken Bow, where he's has enjoyed not only success, but more freedom to take musical risks than he might have had on a major label.
"Obviously, as an artist you don't want to just settle into one thing and just hammer it away and you never really get outside of that box," Aldean said. "I mean, I want to constantly try new things and push the limits a little bit. But at the same time, I think it's important not to ever really get away from what got you to that point."