Jason Aldean

Jason Aldean's debut album is a country music triumph, and maybe that's because he's been working toward it, quite literally, all his life.

The Georgia native was listening to country music before he could talk. He was going to country concerts by the time he was in grade school. He was playing guitar before he reached his teens and was performing country music professionally while he was a junior-high student. In retrospect, his move to Nashville was inevitable and recording was his destiny.

Jason's voice has the burnished glow of a seasoned honky-tonker. His songwriting skills have attracted some of the greatest collaborators on Music Row. He's a proven entertainer and a dynamic personality. Even so, the creation of this debut disc has been a struggle. Like the old saying goes, the darkest hour is just before dawn.

In the summer of 2003, Jason Aldean was ready to throw in the towel. He'd been dropped from a record company's roster. His songwriting contract was expiring. He had a new baby, a mortgage and two car payments to make, and nothing looked promising on his musical horizon.

For five years he'd been trying every way he could think of to make it in Nashville, and all he had to show for his efforts was a broken dream. But just weeks later an offer was on the table, and in January 2004, Jason signed with Broken Bow Records.

Jason Aldean's Broken Bow debut showcases a singer with a honky-tonk tenor that resonates with emotional honesty. And it introduces country fans to a truly polished song craftsman. Although still in his 20s, Jason Aldean already has a wealth of performing experience.

He was raised on country music from the time of his birth, Feb. 28, 1977. Parents Barry and Debbie divorced when he was three. He was raised by his mother, mainly in Macon, GA. Summers were spent with his father in Homestead, FL. Both parents encouraged young Jason as he progressed musically.

At age 14, Jason Aldean was hooked. He began performing at area talent contests and local fairs. At 15, he joined the "house band" at the Macon nightspot Nashville South. A year later, he bought his first car with money he'd earned singing, a 1985 Toyota pick-up with a rusted-out tailgate. By the time of his high-school graduation, his future was set. He adopted Aldean for his stage name, a variation of his middle name, Aldine. He was ready. He was a pro.

His father booked Jason and his band into college towns in Florida, Alabama and Georgia, then further up the eastern seaboard. One of the band members was Justin Weaver, with whom Jason began writing songs.

Jason Aldean's sterling singing voice, original songs and distinctive looks attracted attention at once. Although he doesn't rope and ride, he proudly describes himself as "a hat act." Albeit one with pierced ears.

In 1998, he performed his original songs at a showcase staged by the famed Atlanta nightclub The Buckboard. None of the record company talent scouts who were there approached him, but Michael Knox, then of the Warner-Chappell song-publishing company did. Jason didn't even know what a song publisher was. Nevertheless, signed to write songs for the company, Jason Aldean moved to Music City on Nov. 1, 1998 at age 21. A month later, he was offered a recording contract. When that didn't pan out, he signed with another label immediately afterward. After postponing his recording sessions repeatedly, the second label dropped him in 2000. Three long years dragged by.

In the meantime, he married his high-school sweetheart, Jessica, on Aug. 4, 2001. And on Valentine's Day, 2003 they became the parents of daughter Keeley. Jessica took a job at a Nashville bank and urged Jason to press on. So did Knox, who has remained by his side throughout his ordeal in Nashville. Still, showcases for various executives led nowhere. The last straw was an attempt at the Wildhorse Saloon where the promised label talent scouts never even showed up. But someone else did.

"I got off stage and this guy walked up to me. He's like this ball of energy. His name was Lawrence Mathis, a manager. He said, 'I like what you're doing, and I'd like to talk to you. What are your plans? What are you doing?' I said, 'You caught me at a bad time, because I'm probably moving home in a couple of months.' But I met with him that next Monday and told him what was going on. He said, 'Give me a year to work with you.' I said, 'I don't have a year. I've got six months, at best.' He said, 'All right. Six months.' Five weeks later we got offered a deal from Broken Bow.

"Now I'm at the most exciting time of my life. Recording my first album has been such a thrill. I'm finally with a label that believes in what I am doing. I have waited a long time to make a record like this, and all I can say is this album is real, it's true and it's me. I hope the people like it."

If they love country music as much as he does, they will.


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