Jason Aldean’s live sets burst with energy as anthems (“Dirt Road Anthem”), rockers (“She’s Country”), and stompers (“Just Gettin’ Started”) boom, but for the third single off 2016’s They Don’t Know, his seventh studio LP, the 40-year-old is slowing things down with the open-hearted “Any Ol’ Barstool.”
Know‘s first two singles each found themselves atop of the Billboard Country Airplay chart and this Jack Daniels-laced song is on its way having just cracked the Top 10. Today, EW is thrilled to premiere its understated accompanying video. Directed by frequent collaborator Shaun Silva and with a plot that sees a relationship through its final breath, Aldean said his goal for the clip was to match the straightforwardness of the tune. “For a lot of our videos, we’ve got me and the band and a lot going on, but this song is simple and I wanted to keep the video that way as well,” he tells EW.
Below, we catch up with the Georgia native about launching another massive tour, finally winning Entertainer of the Year, and what’s in his secret sauce for picking singles.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So far, off They Don’t Know, you’ve put “Lights Come On” and “A Little More Summertime” forward as singles — and both have gone to No. 1 on the country airplay charts — why did you want “Any Ol’ Barstool” to go next? Jason Aldean: Its cool to put out the big up-tempo [songs] and rockers and have some fun, but it’s also important to show that other side of what I do and let people know that I am still a country singer and I love singing those traditional songs.
You’ve had 14 No. 1 songs in your career. What’s your process for picking which tunes you send to radio? It’s the songs that I find myself going back and listening to over and over. Some days I might be in a certain type of mood and a song will hit me in one way today but not the same way tomorrow. [I want] the ones that get stuck in my head.
In the last decade you’ve had 20-plus Top 10 hits. Has it become hard to make sure everyone in your live audience gets to hear their favorite Aldean song? We’ve finally gotten to a point where we’re taking songs that were hits out of the show, which I never thought we would do. We used to play songs twice during shows because we didn’t have enough songs! [Laughs]
Is touring still your favorite part of every summer? I love going in and making records but the touring side of it is really always [what] I’ve enjoyed the most; getting on stage every night and entertaining people, that’s why I got started with this in the first place at 14-years-old. And as long as people care enough to want to come see us, I plan to tour and play shows. I know one day they maybe won’t care so much. But as long as people are coming out and still care about what we’re doing, I’m going to be out there.
You won Entertainer of the Year for the first time at the 2016 ACM Awards and you’re nominated for the same trophy at this year’s ceremony. What does it mean for you to see your name up there? I’ve built my career largely on touring and Entertainer of the Year was a personal goal that I set for myself a long time ago. I watched all my idols get up and win that away over the years. So winning that…it really was one of the highlights of my career. When it’s all said and done, that will stand out from my career. And it probably means more to me now, later in my career, winning those things and being nominated. When you’ve been in the business for 10-plus years and you’re still getting recognition, it means a lot.
See “Any Ol’ Barstool” below. A full list of dates and ticketing information for Aldean’s 2017 tour is available on his website. The 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards will broadcast live from Las Vegas on April 2 at 8p.m. EST on CBS.
Read at EW.com