No one in attendance could remember anything quite like it. This week’s celebration for a trifecta of Jason Aldean hits seems to be a first, and it came just as the singer is releasing a fourth single from his Old Boots, New Dirt album. Friends, family, songwriters, media and dozens, if not hundreds of music industry people gathered to honor “Burnin’ It Down,” “Just Gettin’ Started” and “Tonight Looks Good on You,” Aldean’s 14th, 15th and 16th No. 1 songs.
The party happened at City Winery in Nashville, and each celebration took place in a different room. Prior to the festivities, Aldean and six of the songs’ seven songwriters sat down to talk about their music, relationship and just about everything else. Included were Florida Georgia Line‘s Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley, Chris Tompkins, Dallas Davidson, Rhett Akins, Chris DeStefano and Ashley Gorley. Rodney Clawson also helped write “Burnin’ It Down,” but he wasn’t present for the media roundtable.
Below are the highlights, of which there were many.
“Burnin’ It Down” Was Almost Never Released
Aldean pushed for the song to be his first single from Old Boots, New Dirt from the beginning, but his label wasn’t getting great feedback from friends at radio. Still, he kept fighting, saying that his fans would support it. Finally, Broken Bow Records founder Benny Brown gave his stamp of approval, figuring they do best when they take big chances. Aldean proved the naysayers wrong, again.
Thomas Rhett Also Wanted to Cut “Tonight Looks Good on You”
Broken Bow Records
Davidson, Akins and Gorley penned this third single from the album, and afterward Akins sent it to his son, Thomas Rhett. “I got the demo back and I said, ‘Thomas Rhett will like this,’” Akins says. “He texts me immediately and said ‘Dad, I love that song I wanna cut it.’ Thirty seconds later Dallas called me and goes, ‘Well, you want a Jason Aldean cut?’”
“I said, ‘Well, Thomas Rhett wants to cut it.’ And he said ‘Thomas Rhett’s got plenty of time to cut other songs.’”
The Key to Getting Aldean to Cut Your Song?
Davidson jokes that he tried for years to get on Aldean’s records, but couldn’t make it happen until he teamed with Akins and Gorley to write “Tonight Looks Good on You.” “That’s how I got my Jason Aldean cut,” the songwriter says emphatically. Akins had other ideas.
“The key is, does Brittany (wife Brittany Kerr) like it? Because Jason texted me and Dallas and said, ‘I need the most slamming uptempo “That’s My Kind of Night” … I need something bigger than that,” Akins explains. “So we wrote 10 of the wildest things we could write, he passed on every single one of them and he cut “Tonight Looks Good on You,” and I’m like ‘What in the world?’ I think Brittany heard that one and went, ‘Jason, I like that one.’”
The Next Florida Georgia Line Single Will “Change People’s Lives”
Hubbard and Kelley helped write “Burnin’ It Down,” so of course they fielded a few questions about their next album. “Anything Goes” will be the final single from their last album, and after a short break from radio, they’ll be back with music Kelley says is on a completely different level.
“I think content, lyrically, musically … the next single — I’m not gonna tell you the title — but I think it’s gonna change country music, again,” he says. “I think it’s gonna change people’s lives.”
Broken Bow Records
“Burnin’ It Down” Was Written as a Country-Rocker
Florida Georgia Line held onto this song for months before finally letting Aldean hear it. They thought they’d cut it on their latest album, but it just didn’t work out. “I just envisioned a huge Joey Moi sound,” Kelley says of “Burnin’ It Down.” “Our demo is fairly rockin’, but we usually take a demo and put it on steroids and make it as big as we possible can and he did the opposite, which was brilliant.”
“He just made it a cool, sexy song. That’s not the way I envisioned it but after I heard it two or three times I was like, ‘Whoa, he really nailed the meat of this song.’”
One other note about the song: they used “naked,” “loving” and “dreaming” in one chorus each, but were delighted when Aldean chose to use only “naked.”
Aldean Isn’t Worried About the Upcoming CMA Awards
When asked why CMA voters should choose him for the night’s biggest honor, he was honest, but certainly not sales-y. He’s through begging for votes, he says.
"What we’ve done speaks for itself. If you feel like throwing us a vote, thank you. If not, I’m not gonna go do a song and a dance to get you to do that."
Aldean Is Living in a Split Household
Jason Aldean is a diehard University of Georgia fan. Wife Brittany Kerr is an Alabama fan. The two teams play each other on Oct. 3.
“It’s funny, if we go to a Georgia game I got friends over there, so I’ll be on the sideline and she’ll be like ‘I’m not going on the sideline wearing Georgia stuff,’” he says. “She’s like ‘Would you go to Alabama and stand on the sideline?’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah, probably not.’”
Come this fall, he assures, “Somebody’s going to be very upset at our house. Hopefully her.”