ACM Awards: Backstage and Upfront with Jason Aldean

How My Kinda Party and Night Train Changed His Life Forever

Backstage at Sunday’s (April 7) ACM Awards, Jason Aldean said he couldn’t quantify all the accomplishments he’s most proud of when he looks back on his career.

“There for a while, I felt like every week we were accomplishing something different that we had never done before,” Aldean told the press. “I think the My Kinda Party album and the Night Train album, those two albums were game changers for me. I can honestly go back and look at those albums this many years later and say, ’I don’t think I could have cut a better record for those two albums.’ You don’t always get to say that when you cut a record.

“There’s the starting to play stadiums, playing Sanford Stadium at the University of Georgia,” he added. “Being from Georgia, that will go down as one of the highlights of my career forever; to get to go back home and play a show of that magnitude, and come back and just plant the flag in the ground. We were country music a little bit. It was a really cool night for me.”

Aldean is the sixth recipient of the ACM Dick Clark Artist of the Decade Award his outstanding achievement in radio, digital media, sales, streaming, distinguishing events, touring, television and artistic merit. The only other artists to receive this honor are Marty Robbins (1969), Loretta Lynn (1979), Alabama (1988), Garth Brooks (1998) and George Strait (2008).

Here’s more from Aldean’s backstage Q&A:

On what he was thinking while he was giving his acceptance speech … “I was thinking I had 30 seconds and I had a lot of people to thank, man. I wasn’t going to have time, unfortunately. The biggest thing for me is I felt like there’s a lot of artists in country music that have helped sort of drive it over the last ten years. A lot of those guys kind of that were in my class, that sort of came out when I did. I thought if nothing else, I at least felt like they deserved an acknowledgment — Carrie [Underwood], Keith [Urban], Kenny [Chesney], Luke Bryan. I think those guys have done a lot over the last decade as well. So, I wanted to make sure that I at least acknowledged them.”

On receiving his award from George Strait … “He’s the reason I wear the hat and the boots, you know what I mean? Everybody in country music respects him and what he’s done. I think we all hope to have a career just like that and gain the respect of everybody in the country music community like he has. To me, he was one of my idols growing up. And so, to not only get that award but to have him come out and give that to me, as almost like a little passing of the torch kind of thing, to me, that meant a lot to me for sure.”

On receiving his first entertainer of the year in 2015 … “I feel like there was a time there when we were sort of the perennial nominee. There were years where I felt like we got legitimate shots at it, and it just kind of got to the point where I’m like, ’Man, maybe it’s just not going to happen for us.’ That was just always an award that I wanted to have once.”

On what he wants to see in artists who will define country music’s next decade … “When I see guys like Luke Combs, Ashley McBryde, Maren Morris or Kane Brown, I see a lot of talent, a lot of future. It’s cool, it’s people that love country music and want to take it the next step. The thing about country music is it’s going to change. The way we do it now, this next generation’s going to do it a lot different than that. I feel we do it a lot different than the guys that were before us. I love taking younger artists out on the road. In the last couple of years, I’ve had Luke Combs, Kane Brown and Lauren Alaina, and people like that out … Every wave of new acts has different influences. It just creates a whole different sound of music. So, it’s always cool to see what’s going to come out.”

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Lauren Tingle is a Tennessean and storyteller who eats music for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When she’s not writing or rocking out, she enjoys yoga and getting lost in the great outdoors.