Blame King of the Bros Jason Aldean all you want for sparking country music’s recent obsessions with beer, trucks and even rapping. But don’t expect the massively popular singer, who grew up on Guns N’ Roses and is now trying his hand at “baby-making music,” to apologize for any of it.
Photographed by Wesley Mann
“This whole bro-country thing, whoe...
“This whole bro-country thing, whoever coined that ridiculous phrase, it’s about beer or trucks or whatever,” says the 37-year-old singer, agitation creeping into his otherwise laconic Georgia accent as he gets started up on the topic. “Yeah, we’ve had some songs that talk about that stuff. But that’s also what we really grew up doing. A lot of us grew up in these little towns where there wasn’t a whole lot to do, and we were entertaining ourselves. I can’t sing you a song about being a stockbroker on Wall Street, because I don’t even know where the hell Wall Street’s at.”
Even as Aldean extends his dominance,...
Even as Aldean extends his dominance, his domain grows more crowded. Aldean knows the feeling well: “In my case, when ‘Hicktown’ [his 2005 debut single] came out, there was really nothing like that out there. People saw a hat act that comes out and looks like a country singer, but it’s straight rock stuff — well, then there’s a wave of that stuff. If the people that run the record business in Nashville find something that works, they will run it into the ground.”
“I’m pretty private, but over the...
“I’m pretty private, but over the last couple of years I’ve gotten that taken away from me, which kind of pissed me off," Aldean says of the tabloid attention over ending his longtime marriage to begin a relationship with former American Idol contestant Brittany Kerr. "You know, my kids get on there and read all that. I’m not blaming anybody. Obviously, a lot of that stuff is my own deal. But I could go post something on my page right now that says, ‘Hey, we just donated $5 million to a children’s cancer research center,’ and somebody would get on there and go, ‘You’re an asshole cheater.’ ”
“People in country music, when they...
“People in country music, when they think about the fan base, they think about the soccer mom driving her kids to school in the car,” Aldean says. “So then it’s like, ‘Somebody said ‘naked’ on the radio? Oh, my God. We’ve got to go to church tonight.’ If that is the worst thing that’s said on radio or the worst thing that your kids see on TV -- I mean, you see worse stuff than that on the Disney Channel.”
In music, Aldean’s just fine starti...
In music, Aldean’s just fine starting up a debate. “You’re going to have your traditional country music fans that think you’re completely ruining country music, and you’re going to have your new-age fans that love what you’re bringing to the table,” he says. “I love that. I want you to either despise it or love it. You might as well slap me in the face as say, ‘Yeah, it’s OK,’ about a song of mine. If people say they hate it, as ridiculous as it sounds, at least I know I’m getting a reaction, which is exactly what I want.”