The opening line of "On This Side of Life," a track from the new Aaron Tippin collection 25, contains a lyric that is true to life and the music business: "One thing is for certain, nothing is for certain." The singer admits that job stability in his vocation is something of a pipe dream.
"I remember right when we were getting started. It was the Country Radio Seminar. I was feeling good when I came off the stage after the New Faces Show, and everybody was going crazy, but the next Monday, you realize that they have to add the record. I think that line definitely applies to life, but the music business also. What's the old saying: 'You're only as good as your last hit'? That's just the way it is nowadays. I don't get stirred up by much. I realize you just have to go out there and live it."
Tippin is celebrating his silver anniversary as a recording artist this year, and the new release reflects this. Disc one features re-recordings of some of his greatest hits, while the second disc offers fans 15 new songs -- and inside the sleeve of the disc, you will find a collection of historic photographs from his career, including one from his very first tour with a Hollywood legend.
"The first picture you see is one with me and Bob Hope," the singer pointed out. "He's holding that microphone to my mouth, and there's a little military speaker box to my feet, and I'm speaking to a bunch of Marines in the desert. That was the beginning of my music career," he said, referring to when he was promoting his very first RCA single, "You've Got to Stand for Something." "The first thing I did was go out on a C-141 and go to Saudi Arabia with Bob Hope to entertain our troops. The first single had just come out, and it was very exciting. It was one of the most unbelievable things that ever happened to me."
Tippin's family is also represented in the photos in the sleeve of 25 -- and in the music. Wife Thea adds vocals to "Easier Unsaid Than Undone," and son Tom Tippin demonstrates his musical abilities on a superb duet version of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together," and both appear with son Ted on "The House of the Lord." Recording with his family was an awesome experience, and the singer says he doesn't think listeners have heard the last of Tom.
"I'm gonna go out on a limb: I think Nashville might very well have to deal with one more Tippin before this whole thing is over. He's a pure singer, man. I'm not saying that because he's my son, but he just is. I have never been one to encourage my children to be in the music business. In fact, Teddy has no interest at all. He wants to be an aeronautical engineer, but Tom is like his mom: Music is his passion. If he doesn't have a set of headphones on, he's upstairs in his room, beating on a drum set, or he's on the computer with Garage Band, building a song. That's all he does. He loves flying too, but he is passionate about singing and playing. Looks like I might have a bus-driving job in my old age, if nothing else," the singer joked.
Tippin and his band are gearing up to take the 25th-anniversary celebration out on the road. "We're working on some new songs and trying to get some new stuff in there. We're talking about how we want to juggle the show, because we want people to hear the new stuff. I think it's going to be an exciting year. There are so many songs on that album that are going to be springboards to so much more. A '25 years' album might last me that long just trying to get to the bottom of it," he said with a grin. "I'm just thrilled to get it out."
All in all, the singer is grateful for the slower pace in his life and his career. He recalls that when success hit in the early 1990s, he was more focused on the future than celebrating the present. "I don't remember a lot -- especially the first 15 years -- because it was such a whirlwind. To quote Mac Davis, I forgot to 'Stop and Smell the Roses' and enjoy those moments where we were having No. 1s and say, 'Hey, let's have a party and celebrate.' I was always thinking, 'That's nice. Next?' I missed so much, but I'm not doing it this time. I'm going to enjoy every single second of the ride."