Steven Tyler is expected to sign with Big Machine Label Group within the next few weeks, and the Aerosmith singer is already working on a country album for the Nashville-based label, sources tell Billboard.
The deal could go down “anytime,” but is due to happen “before the summer,” according to an insider, although Tyler isn’t waiting for the ink to dry to tout his new affiliation. On Wednesday’s episode of American Idol, Tyler was featured in a taped segment profiling Big Machine president/CEO Scott Borchetta, season 14’s mentor. Tyler joined Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire and The Band Perry, all of whom are signed to BMLG imprints, in praising the executive. Taylor Swift is the label’s biggest act.
Tyler, who announced his intent to record a country album during a Twitter Q&A last October, relocated to Nashville in January and began collaborating with songwriters, including top tunesmith Brett James, who co-wrote Carrie Underwood‘s “Cowboy Casanova” and “Jesus Take the Wheel,” as well as Martina McBride‘s “Blessed.” Also on his list is the Cadillac Three’s Jaren Johnston, who co-wrote current hits as Keith Urban and Eric Church‘s “Raise ‘Em Up” and Tim McGraw’s recent No. 2 hit, “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s.” Big Machine’s A&R staffers are lining up Tyler’s writing sessions. Tyler is also keeping an ear tuned to country radio. “He’ll hear a song and go, ‘Who was that?'” says a source.
A release date for Tyler’s album could come as early as November, though a 2016 release is more likely. No producer has been confirmed for the project.
The rocker is no stranger to country music: In 1995, Garth Brooks took a reworked version of “Fever” from Aerosmith’s 1993 album, Get A Grip, gave it a rodeo slant, retitled it “The Fever,” and rode it to No. 23 on the then-titled Billboard Hot Country Singles and Tracks chart.
In 2011, Tyler and Underwood performed a medley of Aerosmith’s “Dream On” and “Walk This Way” and Underwood’s “Just a Dream” and “Undo It” at the Academy of Country Music Awards. That led to the two pairing for a 2012 episode of CMT’s Crossroads, beamed live from Indianapolis the night before the Super Bowl. In Nov. 2014, Tyler presented a trophy at the CMA Awards with hosts Underwood and Brad Paisley.
A representative for BMLG declined to comment, as did Tyler’s management.
Music From Another Dimension, which was released in November 2012. It was the band’s first studio set of all original material since 2001’s Just Push Play. Music From Another Dimension! spent nine weeks on the Billboard 200 chart (after debuting and peaking at No. 5) — the shortest run for a studio set from Aerosmith.