Jason Aldean: Not Playing by Rulebook

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If there is a rulebook, Jason Aldean hasn’t read it very carefully.

“It’s not in a rulebook anywhere that you have to have steel guitar, fiddle and Telecaster on every single song you do.”

That’s what Aldean has to say about the way he approached making the music for his new album, Old Boots, New Dirt, set for release Tuesday (Oct. 7).

Which is all well and good, but the song I love the most of all the 15 tracks is the one that sounds like he followed all the rules. And then some.

It’s called “Too Fast.” The lyrics are some of the most well-crafted lines I’ve heard. And Aldean’s vocals on this one remind me of Tracy Lawrence, who I know was one of his influences growing up.

The song’s about resisting the urge to be a restless soul — “I don’t wanna take the long way home/Sleepin’ in a roadside room alone/Head in the clouds foot on the gas/Livin’ my life too fast.”

There’s even a line about how he’s been making a living but not making a life. That is pure country music poetry, right there.

Another must-hear track that plays by the right rules is “I Took It With Me.” It captures that classically-country way of looking at a simple idea and giving it a twist. So when life says, “You can’t take it with you when you go,” Aldean says, “The hell I can’t.”

And then there is the title track. It’s one that Aldean says kind of describes where he’s at in his life and his career right now.

“It’s saying, ’It’s the same old me, but I’m going in a new direction,'” he said.

A new direction, but he’s still going to get you to the same place in country music.