When I caught up with Jason Aldean at his CMT Music Awards rehearsal last week, he told me hunting and fishing were the first two lessons his father Barry taught him when he was a kid.
Then after he’d done a little growing up, his dad taught him another lesson: how to be tough.
“My dad taught me how to be a man,” he said. “He taught me how to stick up for myself. If you come home and someone’s been picking on you at school, he’d say, ‘Knock his teeth out and he’ll leave you alone.’”
And as Aldean started thinking about a career in music, his dad explained exactly how hard work works.
“He taught me that nobody was gonna be coming to your front door to find you and say, ‘I wanna sign you to a record deal,’” Aldean said. “Anything you want, you gotta go out and make it happen for yourself. That stuck with me.”
That’s how Aldean learned that, as he said, “No one’s gonna see you if you’re sitting on the couch watching TV.”
He took the advice to heart.
“‘You gotta be out there working,’ he’d tell me,” Aldean said. “I remembered that even after I got my record deal and started having success. I didn’t know how to not go out and play 200 shows a year. For a long time, I used that as fuel for the way I handled everything.”
And one more lesson Aldean’s picked up along the way? Family will be there for you, no matter what.
“One day, when all this stuff’s gone,” he said, gesturing to the massive stage and the massive crowd in the middle of Lower Broadway in downtown Nashville, “and nobody wants to come see my shows anymore, family is the one thing that will be around in the end.”