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Jason Aldean

Old Boots, New Dirt – 2014 (Broken Bow)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Jason Aldean

Arguing whether or not Jason Aldean's kinda (country) party is, in fact, anything remotely related to true country music is pointless. Aldean is so entrenched in the mainstream country marketplace now, we just need to accept him as he is, the same way we reluctantly accept Taylor Swift as "country." It's mighty tempting to subtitle a review of Aldean's new "Old Boots, New Dirt" release as 'Pickup Trucks & Pickup Lines,' as Aldean spends a little time talking about trucks ("If My Truck Cold Talk"), and a lot more time talking up the girls - most overtly with "Tonight Looks Good On You."

No matter what you may think of Aldean's chosen style, though, you have to hand it to him for perfecting his rock-leaning Southern music approach. He sounds extremely comfortable in his boots. He's also added a few new wrinkles to the mix. "Burnin' It Down" works in explicitly R&B percussion grooves with no harm done, while "Tryin' to Love Me" and "Too Fast" reveal a rarely heard tender side of Aldean's musical personality. The former even features Aldean singing sincerely apologetic lyrics. More importantly, the both of these tracks test Aldean's singing prowess and leave him sounding quite the accomplished vocalist. There are also, thankfully, far fewer moments where Aldean sounds like he's trying too hard to get jiggy with hip-hop sounds, as he's done in the past.

Much like Luke Bryan (and others), Aldean creates what's best described as country lifestyle music. These are songs aimed at the young and restlessly boozing. Yet with its nice, unexpected sonic touches, this album gives his audience a tad more than they may have bargained for.