CMT Insider correspondent Allison DeMarcus caught up with the singer on location for the video shoot. In the interview, Aldean explains why he fell in love with the song, why he’ll never be a video director and why he hasn’t been to all 50 states — yet.
CMT: Tell me a little bit about this video for “Fly Over States.”
Aldean: We’re actually 200 yards from where we shot the “Tattoos on This Town” video in an airplane hangar. We’re in Smyrna, Tenn., here at the Army National Guard facilities. It’s like an old airplane graveyard with some old planes that are sitting here basically deteriorating.
Most of the time when we do a video, we find stuff that pretty much looks like crap. I came in here and thought, “Man, this place looks like a dump, and this is going to be an awful video.” But somehow they make it look cool, and that’s why I’m not a video director because I don’t see how they can make this look good. But they do.
What was so special about this song that really made you want to record it?
This was a song that was actually around on my last album. We didn’t really have room to put it on the record, and I found myself listening to it over and over, even after we had recorded that last record. I fell in love with the song. It talks about something that doesn’t get a lot of attention anymore, which is the farmers and people who are the backbone of our country. … I definitely wanted to put it on this record and wanted it to be a single. We were running out of time, so I figured we’d better put it out now.
It talks about train engineers, farmers and people who really get to see the flyover states. And you do, too. Do you feel like that’s why this song speaks to you so much?
Yeah, I think so. We spend a lot of time traveling the country in a bus or plane or whatever we might be doing that particular week. We get a chance to go out and see that firsthand, and I think maybe that is one of the reasons that I was probably drawn to it a little bit. … I visualize myself looking out the plane window and you see those big square patches of land and it looks like a quilt out there. I think visually it’s just a really cool song. It’s well-written and one of my favorite songs on this record.
Do you think you’ll ever push yourself and do something where you’re acting in a video?
I don’t know. I think it depends on the song and what the song lends itself to being. I’m not opposed to that at all. I’m most comfortable with a guitar playing with my band, which is why you see that in a lot of our videos. But the acting thing … if it presents itself in the right way, and I think it’s something that works and I feel comfortable doing, then yeah, I would be all about that. But I may find out that I’m not very good at it, so it may be a one-time only deal.
Your career has blown up over the last couple years, Jason. I’m sure the demands on your time have been different. Has that been hard for you to find a balance in your life?
I think anybody that’s in this business and starts to have success like that, it’s always a little bit of a challenge because you’re so used to your life being a certain way, and then all of a sudden it changes. I think it takes some time to get used to it and settle in to your new life, basically. For me, the last couple of years have actually been a little better because we’ve actually done fewer shows. Before, when I first got out on the road, we were doing 200 shows a year, and that’s tough. But now, we’re playing to more people but doing fewer shows. We’re playing 75 shows or so a year, and it works out pretty well because I end up being at home a little more. It’s actually gotten a little better the last couple of years.
Since you’ve toured for so long now, is there any state you haven’t visited?
With the exception of Alaska and Hawaii, I think we’ve pretty much covered them. We’ve been all over the U.S. and Canada, and we’ve had a chance to see most of it. I feel pretty fortunate. Like I said, we haven’t gotten to Alaska and Hawaii yet, which I’d like to check out at some point, too, but they’re a little harder to get to than the rest of them. … I would rather be on a bus than a plane any day, but I hope to eventually get there at some point and would love to play those two states, just to say that I’ve played them all. Hopefully that’s in our future.