e reason being is the time I really started listening to music on the radio was in the '80s, which Johnny wasn't really getting played a lot on the radio in the '80s,” he said. "It's just one of those things where I didn't really grow up hearing a lot of his music so ... I didn't have an appreciation for his music until I was older.”
Sounding like himself
Aldean is part of an influx of young talent finding success in Nashville. He said he isn't making a calculated effort to stand out from the crowd; he just plays the music he loves.
"It's really weird to me to see sometimes a lot of new artists come out and then try to be like another artist, and that to me doesn't make a lot of sense. There's already a Tim McGraw, there's already a George Strait, like there's not going to be another one. So you might as well come out and do what it is that you do and not try to do things like these guys do,” he said.
"I never really tried to pay much attention to that, I just kind of came out and did what it is that I do, which I didn't know if people were going to like it or not. But ultimately, I gotta go out and sing the songs every night, so I want all that stuff to be things that I like.”
Aldean has plenty of experience as a songwriter but doesn't insist on recording his own work. His first album included three tracks he wrote; "Relentless” doesn't feature any.
"I'm one of those people that I like to write a song if I have something to say. I don't necessarily really like sitting in a room for four or five hours a day just writing just for the sake of writing. I guess, because I did that for a while, it's just not my thing,” he said. "I'm one of those people that when we're recording an album, I want to find the best songs I can find. If I happen to write those, then that's great; if not, that's fine, too.”
Aldean is working on his third album, which he expects to release next year. For now, he is focused on his job on the tour: Getting the crowd warmed up for McGraw.
"Our whole day revolves around that hour that we get to play on stage, and so when we finally get the chance to go out there ... we just try to have a good time and kind of cut loose,” he said.