OFFSTAGE: Shooting Jason Aldean’s “Night Train” in the Night Rain

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

When you think of all the country singers who have paid for fake rain in their videos, it’s that much cooler that Jason Aldean got the real stuff for free. I talked to Wes Edwards, the director of Aldean’s new “Night Train” video, about how much the pouring rain affected the video. They shot it before, during and after Aldean’s rainy Wrigley Field show on July 20.

“I was in Jason’s Whiskey River pre-show vibe room when he took the stage, so I didn’t even know it was raining. So when we went outside, at first I was really bummed out. I was like, ‘Oh man. This sucks,’” he told me. “But it actually ended up being such a cool thing. Jason got pretty wet. Not soaked, but wet. Most of the heavy rain ended about halfway through his set, and then after show he said, ‘I hope that looked good.’ And I told him I thought the rain made it a million times better.”

Edwards said they shot the video with super-high-speed cameras that were slow motion enough to capture the rain. And they did it in only 24 hours, with just Edwards, an assistant (his little sister) and one other camera man. “It was unbelievable we pulled it off,” he said.

Since 2005, when he shot Aldean’s debut video for “Hicktown,” Edwards told me their objective has always been to avoid being too polished. “That’s always been Jason’s artistic thing. Not too slick or glossy. More raw. And I’ve always tried to do that for him,” he said. “And that’s true of ‘Night Train.’ We gave it a documentary feel, with less of that standard behind-the-scenes clutter. It’s more deliberate and stylistic. And this one is patient and takes it time.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.