Jason Aldean agrees the new music on his seventh studio album They Don’t Know essentially captures who he is as the man behind the artist. That’s because all of the songs are written by the Nashville music makers who know him best.
“This album is a really good combination of the things that I do well,” he said in an interview with CMT.com. “I know everybody always says their new album is their best thing they’ve ever done, and I’m not going to sit there and be that guy. But at the same time, I feel like it is still pushing in new directions.”
Nearly half of the songwriters listed in the album credits have written several Aldean songs for the better part of the last decade. Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley, who co-wrote Old Boots, New Dirt’s “Burnin’ It Down,” scored another Aldean No. 1 as two of the six songwriters behind “Lights Come On.”
Wendell Mobley and Tony Martin, who co-wrote Aldean’s late summer hit “A Little More Summertime” with Keith Urban’s longtime guitarist Jerry Flowers, have had songs on Aldean albums since 2007’s Relentless. Rodney Clawson, who co-wrote his first string hits including “Hicktown,” “Amarillo Sky” and “Why,” co-wrote three songs on the new project.
The other half includes names who have helped define his signature sound — band members Kurt Allison and Tully Kennedy, who are also co-founders of New Voice Entertainment.
“Tully and Kurt have been writing a lot lately and came to the table with a few songs for this record that were really cool including the title track,” he said. “Kurt was a writer on ‘They Don’t Know.’ It’s cool to be able to not only cut songs by your friends, but the fact that they’re great songs is cool.”
Another song Allison and Kennedy brought to the table was “Reason to Love L.A.,” which was co-written with Michael Dulaney and Jason Sever.
“It’s sort of a love-hate relationship with Los Angeles,” Aldean said of the song. “I can’t handle it taking you 30 minutes to go two miles on the freeway. It’s a little too hectic for me. That was another one of those songs that I thought fit with the rest of the record. It was relatable to me, so it was kind of a no-brainer.”
Although Labor Day marked the unofficial end of summer 2016, fans can still bask in the late summer heat coming off his latest single “A Little More Summertime.” The best part is when the bottom drops out before the chorus, pulling the listener in like a rip current.
Then Aldean’s voice comes crashing in with some pretty scenic poetry when he sings, “If that sun would’ve just hung up in that sky just a little bit yeah just a little bit longer/If those blue water waves could’ve stayed at her feet on the beach ‘stead of going out with the tide/If that wind was a friend it’d still be blowing in like a warm southern whisper on her/She might have stayed forever and never ever left these arms if only I/Had a little more summertime.”
“There’s something about it when the chorus kicks in and that guitar stuff is going on,” he said, “It grabbed me right off the bat. It was one of the first songs we got for the record. It’s sort of going back to a little more of a vintage sound for me. But it doesn’t sound like anything else we’ve ever done. I think the whole album is like that, which is what I’m excited for people to hear.”
Available Friday (Sept. 9), They Don’t Know is produced by the award-winning Michael Knox and includes the Kelsea Ballerini duet, “First Time Again.” That same evening, Aldean and Kid Rock will kick off their two-night stand at Boston’s Fenway Park with Thomas Rhett and A Thousand Horses.