It helped enormously that when fans went to Jason Aldean concerts, they got the same sound they expected after hearing his albums. In a departure from countrys status quo, Jason insisted on using his road band in the studio. As a result, he has a core of musicians every bit as willing as its leader to defy tradition.
"You dont have a session guy whos been doing it for 30 years who says, No, this is the way its supposed to be played," Jason notes. "Theres no formula to music. Its meant to be experimented with. Youre supposed to try things. So I love getting in there with my guys and coming up with sounds that nobody else really uses."
That experimentation in the studio led to plenty of interesting pieces in the Night Train puzzle the shifty guitar tone in "I Dont Do Lonely Well," the spaceship effect at the close of "Black Tears" or the call-and-answer vocal lines in the background of "When She Says Baby."
Those sounds are as unusual as the band itself. Theres a fair amount of rock swagger and unbridled power behind Jasons own confident presence on stage.
"My steel player for example is not your typical Nashville steel player," Jason assesses. "He plays barefoot, hes standing up, pushing his instrument out towards the crowd. That makes him really different, but also just like the rest of us. Hes not your run-of-the-mill player, which makes him a perfect fit with us. Im not looking for someone who plays like every other player in town. I want someone who stands out, thats different, that has a little bit more to offer."
In that way, the band mirrors Jason perfectly. He stands out for his adventurous, yet spot-on song selections and for the intensity with which he delivers that material.
And hes always looking to offer a little bit more to his fans. Its why Night Train has 15 songs on it not to mention a bonus guest appearance on "The Only Way I Know" by his buddies Luke Bryan and Eric Church. That songs unapologetic celebration of the American work ethic "dont quit til the job gets done" summarizes the relentless approach Jason has used in pushing his career to rare heights.
Even at the elite level he now occupies, he continues to push his band, push his crew, push the envelope and push himself. Most likely driven by the ups and downs of his journey in the music industry, Jason still has a desire to win over any remaining non-believers still out there.
"Ive always kind of felt like I had something to prove," he says. "Its what keeps me hungry."
That hunger translates into a high-intensity live show and a 15-song album with no filler. Its what continues to push the "Night Train" down the tracks at full speed.