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EXCLUSIVE: Jason Aldean Moves Forward with 'Rearview Town'

Talks New Music and More in Two-Part Interview (Part I of II)

Jason Aldean’s sound has easily defined the last decade in mainstream country music.

And any artist at this point in Aldean's career has the liberty to scale down the media push going into a new album by giving time to select media outlets. But although he's sold more than 15 million albums, achieved 19 No. 1 hits and headlined stadiums, what sets Aldean apart from the pack is that he’s still the guy from Macon, Ga. who remembers the folks who have supported him from the beginning. It’s why he’s connected with audiences representing rearview towns all over the world.

“The way you’re raised and how you grow up define you, and I don’t think that’s something you ever forget,” Aldean tells CMT.com while calling from a vacation in Florida. “I don’t think you ever lose that. If you’re from a little farm town and you grew up working on a farm, I don’t care what you do from here on out; you’re going to remember that. I’m drawn to those kinds of songs that are reminiscent of my upbringing.

“I think part of the way you stay connected is you sing those songs and people think, ‘That guy is just like us,’ because I was, I am, and I’m still that guy currently. It doesn’t matter how many cars you drive. It’s all nice stuff to have, but underneath it all, you are who you are, and you’re from where you’re from.”

Aldean's eighth studio album, Rearview Town, arrives on April 13, and going into this next record his goal was to get back to the storytelling he was known for when he first arrived in Nashville 20 years ago to write songs. Although his sound has dominated the airwaves since his 2005 breakout with “Hicktown," he says there were prior singles that he would record again if given a second chance and others he wouldn’t.

“‘Any Ol’ Barstool’ I thought that was a killer song,” he said. “I would cut that song again. But a lot of the album cuts and some of the singles we’ve released, it’s kind of like, I don’t know. They didn’t blow me away. They were good songs, but they didn’t have that ‘it’ factor about them like a lot of our earlier stuff had.”

He admits some of his past song decisions were based on where he was in life. “It was good to get back to a place to where I could give this record my full attention, and be focused on the songs,” Aldean said. “What I wanted to do was not to be distracted by the things that were going on and that helped me get back to what I feel like I do the best that defined my sound.”

Aldean’s High Noon Neon Tour launches May 10, and he heads to the 53rd annual ACM Awards with two nominations including entertainer and male vocalist of the year.

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