Jason Aldean co-wrote three of the eleven songs on his self-titled debut, including "Even If I Wanted To," "You're the Love I Want to Be In" and "She Loved Me." The album was produced by Michael Knox and includes Jason's first single, "Hicktown," which was written by John Rich, Big Kenny and Vicky McGehee.
It's easy to see why newcomer Jason Aldean scored big right out of the box--"Hicktown," an anthem for the way-off-the-interstate nation, not only captures the pride and the humor of the blue-collar crowd ("Well, you can see the neighbor's butt crack nailing on his shingles"), but was written by John Rich and Big Kenny of Big & Rich (with Vicky McGehee). That might be a lucky break for this Georgian's debut, but Aldean managed to nail four other John Rich songs, including "You're the Love I Want to Be In," which the singer cowrote with Rich and McGehee. Strong songwriting rules throughout, whether the subject is dysfunctional relationships ("Why"), hurtin' hearts ("Even If I Wanted To"), lonely truckers ("Asphalt Cowboy"), or reassessing one's own life in the reflection of a passing hearse ("Good to Go"). Producer Michael Knox tailors Aldean's sound toward one thing--fitting in on the radio--which means he borrows from everybody: "Amarillo Sky" kicks off with a Celtic, Keith Urban-like intro, "Lonesome USA" recalls the gangly twang of "Guitar Town"-era Steve Earle, and the rocking drive of Big & Rich is everywhere. Though Aldean shows promise as a writer, he's no special shakes as a vocalist. But he brings a solid Everyman's tenor to play (think Kenny Chesney), and he sounds as if he's lived every word. Make room for another chart-topper. --Alanna Nash
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