Country singer, songwriter, and producer Jason Aldean released his tenth studio album, Georgia, on Friday, April 22. In an interview for Today’s Country Radio with Kelleigh Bannen on Apple Music Country, Aldean revealed his songwriting process for the new project and the stories that shaped the songs.
Videos by American Songwriter
“I moved to Nashville as a songwriter. I moved here and started writing for Warner Brothers, Warner Chappell. And that’s how I got to town. So I was the guy in there writing every day and writing a ton of songs. My problem was always— and still is— it’s not that I don’t write or can’t write. I’m just my own worst critic,” Aldean explained about his greatest weakness when it comes to songwriting.
Luckily, Aldean has a long list of talented co-writers who can pull him out of this mindset. One of Aldean’s most frequent songwriting partners is Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line. Whenever Aldean is working on a new album, Hubbard usually sends a few song ideas to collaborate on. One of these songs, “Your Mama,” ended up on Georgia.
“Your Mama” is a tear-jerking song about a father telling his son about how wonderful his mother is. Hubbard wrote it while he and his wife, Hayley, were expecting a baby boy. But when the baby turned out to be a little girl, Hubbard sent the song to Aldean.
A second track featured on Georgia, “Holy Water,” was written the first time that Aldean met fellow country singer Ernest. During a writing session between Aldean, Ernest, and Brian Kelley, Ernest began playing the song on the piano. As soon as Aldean heard the nostalgic ballad about teenage love, he was hooked.
“[Ernest] played [“Holy Water”] and I just lyrically thought it was so cool. And we were just at the beach at that time and it just kind of all made sense,” Aldean recalled. “And I just thought it was so well written and lyrically, I mean, just amazing. It kind of blew me away.”
Later that night, Aldean asked his producer to put the song on hold for him. “Holy Water” became the eighth track on Georgia.
In the interview with Bannen, Aldean also discussed his philanthropic efforts with a pediatric hospital in his hometown, Macon, Georgia.
“You hear all these stories about kids at St Jude’s and all these things,” he said. “St Jude’s is unbelievable. And I’ve visited that hospital. We’ve donated to them. And I’m like, man. I just felt like Macon had this new children’s hospital that they were building, and trying to give the people where I’m from a place to take their kids if anything ever happened.”
Thinking of his own children, Aldean knew he wanted to support the hospital, Atrium Health Navicent, in any way he could.
“I got to thinking, man, if I’m living there and something’s really wrong with my kid and I can’t travel to Memphis to go do all that stuff… In Nashville, we have Vanderbilt, which is a great hospital. In Macon, you really don’t have that. And so I really kind of started wanting to pour everything I had into that.”
Aldean expressed that promoting and donating to charities has always been part of his philosophy as an artist. “I feel like you do that stuff because you want to, and do it behind the scenes and whatever,” he said. “And… other than doing concerts where we try to raise money for it, that’s kind of always been my motto on that stuff.”