When Jason Aldean and Kenny Chesney’s stadium tour kicks off May 2nd, the two superstars want to make sure they provide fans with a one-of-a-kind experience that far surpasses their individual high-octane shows.
The 10-date outing, which also includes Brantley Gilbert, Cole Swindell and Old Dominion, starts at San Francisco’s Levi’s Stadium and unspools throughout the summer, ending August 28th at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Each artist will continue on his own headlining dates between joint stadium shows.
“Kenny has the same idea as me, he wants it to be something special,” Aldean tells Rolling Stone Country of the co-venture. “It’s not just his normal show, it’s not just my normal show, it’s something that’s really cool and different.”
Fans can expect each artist to perform his own set, then come together for a segment. “You’re going to hear songs that you wouldn’t typically hear from us. . . some Americana type stuff, [Bob] Seger, [John] Mellencamp,” Aldean hints. The pair began rehearsals a few weeks ago and have also been regularly talking and texting about the show.
In addition to a decade’s worth of hits, Aldean will perform new single, “Tonight Looks Good On You,” which made its TV debut on the Academy of Country Music Awards (where the singer was also awarded Male Vocalist of the Year). The sultry, mid-tempo ballad is the third single from the Georgia native’s chart-topping album, Old Boots, New Dirt, and follows “Burnin’ It Down” and “Just Gettin’ Started,” both of which hit Number One on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart.
Aldean had “Tonight” pegged for a single from the first time he heard the tune, which was penned by hit songwriters Rhett Akins, Ashley Gorley and Dallas Davidson. “It’s one of the coolest songs that we’ve had on the last two albums,” he says. The singer recently heard it on the radio for the first time and admitted the feeling he gets hearing his songs through the car speakers never gets old. “I was leaving my house in Nashville and going to the gas station. It came on as I was pulling out of the driveway,” he says. “You can listen to it on a CD or phone, but when it’s coming through 100,000 watts on the radio, it just has a different sound. I sent Dallas a screen shot of the radio and [texted] ‘Looking good!'”
Aldean has also been making headlines as one of the initial artists — and lone country act — to be a partner in Tidal, the music streaming service launched last month by Jay Z that also includes Madonna, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Jack White and Kanye West, and gives the artists an ownership stake in the company. Tidal has come under fire for its cost (up to $19.99/month for high quality audio) and its questionable marketing strategy of having multi-millionaire acts talking about not getting their fair share. Even fellow artists such as Mumford & Sons and Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard have criticized the new company for, in part, not doing enough for new artists.
For all the issues surrounding Tidal, Aldean supports the service and feels it is a step in the right direction toward artists and songwriters receiving fair compensation from streaming. “If artists want to go out and spend their own money to make a record and just go and give them away, you can do whatever you want, that’s your deal,” he says. “But for most people, a record company signs them, fronts them the money to cut these records. If you can’t sell records [and people are] just getting it for free, you have no way to pay [the record company] back. In turn, the record company’s just not going to keep you there. They’re going to cut you from the label and it’s just really not fair to artists, especially new artists. At least Tidal is trying to get [the music business] back on track and in the right direction.”
Aldean took his music off Spotify earlier this year because the streaming service allows subscribers to listen for free in exchange for hearing advertising spots.
One of Tidal’s selling points is that participating artists will provide Tidal subscribers with exclusives. Aldean already has some in mind, including some acoustic releases and videos that haven’t previously come out. He also wouldn’t mind collaborating with fellow Tidal shareholder and Nashvillian White. “Jack’s really cool. I spent a lot of time talking with him,” he says. “I think you’ll probably see a lot of cool stuff coming out of Tidal.”
This year marks the 10th anniversary since Aldean released his self-titled debut album, which contained hits “Hicktown” and “Why.” “I’ve already in my career accomplished more than I could have ever dreamed of,” he says, but adds he has big plans for the next 10. “There’s still a lot of places left that I would love to play. I want to make it when people come to our show, it’s an event. It’s not like just going to anybody’s show. Whatever it is we do down the road, I want it to still have that feel, whether we throw a show on the beach somewhere or up in the mountains and it’s snowing like hell. Whatever it is, I want it to be something cool that people are going to remember.”