Is Jason Aldean Keeping Rock Alive in Country Music?
Remember the old saying, "rock 'n' roll will never die"? Jason Aldean may be one of the reasons it’s still alive.
Radio in the 2010s has especially favored electronica over ringing guitar tones, but certain country acts — Aldean, for example — have unapologetically absorbed the rock sound into their music, keeping it relevant, if only in the country mainstream.
In a recent media roundtable in Nashville, Aldean told Taste of Country the ringing rock guitars on his past albums — and forthcoming release 9, which drops November 22 — are so ingrained in who he is, he “couldn’t imagine” doing a record without such a sound.
“It’s what I think sounds cool,” Aldean admits. “If nobody’s doing it, then good, ’cause we are and we always have. It’s always been a huge part of my sound and a big influence for me growing up. If we went in to make an album and it didn’t have some of that on it, I would just feel like there would be something missing on the record. … I just know for me and my guys, that’s what we like to play and that’s the way we like for it to sound and if it didn’t sound like that, it wouldn’t sound like us.”
Aldean credits his record label, BBR Music Group, for giving him the "keys to the car" and not standing in the way of the sound that he, his band and producer Michael Knox want to make. The country singer says he cuts the record, and when he’s done, he just hands it to the label.
“If I’m not cutting it like that, then it’s not really me,” Aldean says. “I would much rather cut my music the way I want to cut it and it not work, than try to chase something that’s a fad right now and have it not work. Because then I’d be pissed at myself because I was chasing something that I shouldn’t have been chasing in the first place.”
As for the state of rock music, Aldean doesn’t pat himself on the back for keeping it alive per se, but shares the sentiment that rock appears to be in a downswing. However, that isn’t going to stop the 42-year-old country singer from including it in his work.
“I will say there’s not a lot of great rock bands out anymore. It is kind of a thing where it’s harder and harder to find really good rock bands, but I hope it comes back around,” he says. “There were obviously some cool ones in the ’80s and even all the way up to the early 2000s there were still some really cool bands out there and it just kind of feels like it’s fizzled out a little bit. Everything’s a little more electronic and pop-oriented, and you don’t have those big guitar sounds, but man, that’s just such a key piece of the way we record that I couldn’t imagine not doing it like that.”
First, Watch Lindsay Ell's Best Guitar Solos!
Country Music's All-Time Best Guitarists: