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Aldean’s Night Train arrives

By WERNER TRIESCHMANN SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE

This article was published May 9, 2013 at 3:01 a.m.

jason-aldean-night-train

Jason Aldean Night Train

After the release in October of his fifth album, Night Train, Jason Aldean, the stage name of Georgia-born country singer Jason Williams, had seemingly scaled Nashville’s steep mountain.

Aldean arrives at North Little Rock’s Verizon Arena on Saturday with his Night Train Tour. Jake Owen and Thomas Rhett are opening acts.

The Night Train Tour is an affair that befits one of the top stars of one of the most popular music genres in the United States. More than 100 crew members support an extravaganza that requires 19 buses and trucks to haul it from city to city. The tour is packing venues that aren’t quite known for being country music palaces such as University of Georgia’s Sanford Stadium and Boston’s Fenway Park.

All of Aldean’s CDs, which have been released on the indie label Broken Bow, spawned country-chart topping singles and sold millions of copies. The path that Aldean carved to stardom is certainly his own and owes very little to traditional country music. Aldean’s had hits with American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson (“Don’t You Want to Stay”) and embraced hip-hop (“Dirt Road Anthem,” which Aldean performed with Ludacris at the 2011 CMT Awards show).

More than that, Aldean’s dominant style of music, a guitar-heavy sound that can be heard in his hits “Hicktown” and “My Kinda Party,” has become the de facto model for the modern strain of country music (for instance, a quick listen to Tim McGraw’s hit “Truck Year”), offering proof of Aldean’s pervasive influence.

For all his popularity, Aldean had been passed over for one coveted honor- hosting a country music awards show. Instead those jobs had gone to Aldean’s peers Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Trace Adkins and Luke Bryan. But a recent announcement has Aldean scheduled to host the CMT Music Awards on June 5. His co-host is Kristen Bell, one of the stars of Showtime’s House of Lies.

The flip side to Aldean’s rapid rise to the top has been exposed this past year. Several months ago, Aldean was at a Los Angeles bar and caught on camera kissing former American Idol contestant Brittany Kerr. Aldean made a public apology on his Facebook page and then in April filed for divorce from his wife, Jessica Ussery. The couple have been married for 11 years and have two girls.

Jason Aldean

Opening acts: Jake Owen, Thomas Rhett

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Verizon Arena, North Little Rock

Tickets: $40.50, $68.50

(800) 745-3000

Weekend, Pages 34 on 05/09/2013

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