Jason Aldean: “Garth Was the Guy”

Could Singers Start a Mutual Adoration Society in Nashville?

Ever since Garth Brooks told me how much he admired Jason Aldean, I’ve wondered what Aldean thought about having a country music legend in his corner.

During an interview when his comeback tour launched in Chicago, Brooks went on and on about Aldean’s “muscle country” and how “everybody tried to do that Jason thing.”

When I was in Nashville for CMA Awards week, I finally had my chance to ask Aldean about it.

“First of all, the fact that the dude even knows who I am cracks me up,” Aldean said. “Second of all, giving me compliments? That’s very cool. I don’t take stuff like that for granted at all.”

When Aldean was first playing clubs as a teenager in Georgia, he sang a lot of Brooks cover songs. In the ’90s, that was pretty much standard operating procedure for any aspiring country singer.

By the time Aldean had a steady gig in a house band, Brooks had released his first four albums which spawned more than 10 No. 1 songs and had already won the CMA’s entertainer of the year award twice.

So, yeah, you could say his music influenced Aldean.

“Garth’s such a legend in music,” Aldean said. “So that fact that he even cares enough to have an opinion on me really trips me out. Because as a kid growing up, when I first started getting into music and playing out, Garth was the guy. And when I was trying to break into the business, if you’d told me he’d ever say something like that, I would have thought that was ridiculous.”