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Jason Aldean

"If you start to think that way, you're gonna set yourself up for failure"

It turns out Jason Aldean had been sitting on one of the biggest hits of his career for quite some time.

The country star tells Billboard that his latest single, "Take a Little Ride" -- whose No. 19 debut on the Country Songs chart and No. 12 on the Hot 100 were the highest bows of his career -- was actually pitched to him while he was making his last album, 2010's double-platinum "My Kinda Party."

"It came in sort of late, and we had all the (up) tempos we were looking for for that record, so I ended up passing on it for ('My Kinda Party')," Aldean explains. "But it's just one of those songs I found myself listening to over and over, even after we had finished that album. I thought it would be a great song for us to launch the album with. It's catchy. It's uptempo. We wanted to come out of the gate with something that's a little more straightahead than maybe I'd go with for a second, third or fourth single down the road. It's kind of a right down the middle sort of radio thing; that's always good when you're getting ready to launch" an album.

Aldean says the hit "takes some pressure" off the forthcoming "Night Train" which comes out Oct. 16 and was produced by his longtime cohort Michael Knox. But Aldean adds that he wasn't necessarily feeling a greater deal of pressure while making the album, even for a task as formidable as following up "My Kinda Party."

"Honestly, I tried to just not even worry about it," he explains. "To go in with the mindset of trying to top ('My Kinda Party') or make an album that sells more than the last -- you can't really do that. If you start to think that way, you're gonna set yourself up for failure. I'm obviously a lot more confident and more sure of myself than when I started out, and (success) has made me even more confident. So I just went in to make the best record we could, and what happens after is out of your control, so I don't worry too much about it."

Primarily, Aldean says, "Night Train" will fall in line with what fans expect of him. "One thing I've learned, man, is to continue to put out good music and not try to reinvent the wheel every time you go out," he notes. "The biggest thing is to not get away from what brought you to the dance. It's cool to experiment a little bit here and there and try some things, but it's important to stick to what it is that got you here."

He is, however, particularly pleased with "The Only Way I Know," a musical summit meeting with buddies Luke Bryan and Eric Church.

Aldean's My Kinda Party Tour continues through Oct. 27, including a stop at the iHeartRadio Music Festival Sept. 27 in Las Vegas. He plans promotional and TV appearances to support "Night Train's" release, while he's looking at a 2013 touring season that will incorporate arenas, amphitheaters and even stadiums following his Aug. 5 show at Columbus, Ohio's Crew Stadium. "I think we're going to dabble into that a little more next year," he says. "It's definitely something I could get used to, so we'll see what happens over the next year."