MANHATTAN, NY—Jason Aldine Williams was raised by his mother in Macon, Georgia. His parents divorced when he was three, and during the summer he would spend time with his father in Homestead, Florida. Before going to work each day, his dad would map out guitar chords on notebook paper to show his son where to place his fingers. Aldean practiced while his dad was at work. When his dad got home, he got out his own guitar and they played country music standards together. The youth performed at talent contests and local fairs and by age 15 joined the house band at a Georgia night club. He adopted the stage name Jason Aldean and in 1998, at age 21, Aldean moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where his career eventually flourished in 2005. His five albums have sold more than eight million copies and feature 18 Top 10 country hits. His most recent album is 2012’s Night Train.
Jason Aldean was among the big-name entertainers playing corporate-sponsored private concerts during the nights leading up to the Super Bowl. In 2013, he headlined a sold-out Madison Square Garden, but tonight he returned to his roots, performing at Irving Plaza, where the budding country artist played his first New York show in 2010. After selling millions of albums, headlining baseball stadiums and winning just about every industry award available to a country music artist, it appeared that his concert tonight at the rock venue was a hint of forthcoming ground to conquer.
Seldom has a country artist had a heavy-bottomed, hard-rocking band like what was heard tonight. Wearing his signature plaid shirt and cowboy hat, Aldean’s singing and melodies remained faithful to contemporary country music trajectories, but his musicians often played with the dense gravitas of a grunge band. This seemed to be Aldean’s blueprint for the night—sing it country, power it with a pounding rhythm section and fret-scraping guitar licks turned up to 11, and throw an occasional rap into the mix. The long catalogue of hit songs had the audience singing along, and the sheer vibrations of the uptempo music had the fans grooving. That he was able to keep this blended energy flying for an hour was epic.
Visit Jason Aldean at jasonaldean.com.