Georgia-born Aldean has sold over 20 million albums and clocked 15 billion streams – despite traditionalists having been upset by mixing hard rock and rap in his previous songs.
His latest album, however, will not shake country purists. There’s a dash of R&B production in Ain’t Cowboy Enough and Trouble With A Heartache, but you have to wait for live tracks for country rock.
Jason, 45, is an ordinary man with a keen ear for strong numbers. Standouts include My Weakness, a mid-tempo love song punctuated by a hauntingly beautiful guitar hook.
“I’d be flying down a dead end road, a highway without a home, if it wasn’t my weakness,” he sings of a woman vividly described as “a hurricane raining down holy water ” and “a summer sunrise at the darkest hour”.
The most relaxed Rock And Roll Cowboy – co-written by country stars Rhett Akins and Neil Thrasher – is about a guy who can’t get over the “hustle and bustle” in his soul.
Whiskey Me Away is a laid back ballad with an enchanting chorus. Aldean’s character kills time in a small town bar when he is joined by a stranger who has “a hangover I’d like to wake up to”. It’s the kind of bar where drunks might enjoy a slow dance to a song like God Made Airplanes with its soaring guitar riffs.
Jason is abandoned and hits the bottle again on The State I’m In, begging people to tell his ex that he’s moving forward “better than you’ve ever seen”.
Busts, bars and broken hearts feature throughout this tough but tender album – “second part” of Macron’s 2021.
And, if you’re wondering, yes, Aldean just launched its own Bourbon brand.