Jason Aldean is ready for the road again

acoyne@thestate.comJanuary 24, 2014 

Jason Aldean

PROVIDED

  • If you go

    As part of his 2014 Night Train Tour, country music star Jason Aldean comes to Columbia 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Colonial Life Arena, 801 Lincoln St. The concert will feature special guests Florida Georgia Line and Tyler Farr. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $29.75 and $59.75. (855) 456-2849; www.lmctix.com

Jason Aldean’s Night Train tour will roll into Columbia this Saturday, the day before his 2013 album is up for a Grammy Award.

Aldean said he is excited about the nomination, his fourth in his career.

“Anytime you get nominated for a Grammy, it’s a special thing,” Aldean said. “It’s really big.”

Aldean also won two American Country Music Awards and a CMT Music Award this year, including the AMC Male Vocalist of the Year Award. But the singer isn’t focused on his trophy case. Instead, he’s excited to get back on the road.

“I’ve been off the road for about three months, and when that’s your lifestyle, that’s just what you’re used to doing,” Aldean said. “Being off the road makes me miss it.”

After nearly 15 years of touring the nation with his band, Aldean and his band of “buddies” have been able to keep their live shows fresh, even over long stretches on the road.

“Every time you play a show, even though we’re out there every night, it might be the first time someone’s seen it,” Aldean said. “We sing these songs every night, but these people don’t hear it every night.”

Aldean will also be joined by Florida Georgia Line, a country duo who burst into the mainstream with their 2013 hit “Cruise,” which was remixed to feature rapper Nelly. Florida Georgia Line, Aldean and other popular country artists have been instrumental in a new subgenre of country which takes the style’s trademark twang and mixes it with pop or hip hop sounds. Aldean collaborated with rapper Ludacris on a remix to Aldean’s hit “Dirt Road Anthem” in 2011.

The new country sound, often peppered with mentions of trucks, girls and beer, has been dubbed “bro country” by some and has been able to break through to mainstream radio. But while it’s a variation on the classic country, Aldean said he doesn’t think it signifies a shift in the genre as a whole.

“Every wave of new artists is going to bring their influences to the table,” Aldean said. “You’re seeing guys like myself and Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan ... Even though country is what we love, we still like other music. I don’t think it’s a shift. It’s more like a different sound.”

Aldean has hit Columbia a few times over the years. His first stop in the famously hot capital city was with Rascal Flatts, for whom he was opening.

Aldean, who is from Macon, Ga., said he especially enjoys playing in the Southeast. The avid Georgia Bulldogs fan is also no stranger to performing in Southeastern Conference venues like the Colonial Life Arena. But when he plays these venues, he leaves the Bulldogs gear in the bus.

“It doesn’t typically go over well,” he said.

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