Jason Aldean’s Georgia roots run deep, so much so the country superstar titled his 10th studio album after his Peach State hometown, Macon, citing R.E.M., Trisha Yearwood, James Brown, and Otis Redding as artists whose careers have influenced his. “Between Macon and Atlanta, it was just like this melting pot of all this different kind of music that was coming in there,” Aldean tells Apple Music. “Growing up, you're kind of exposed to all that stuff, and it's just cool. It gives you an appreciation for all these different kinds of music.” Though its title references a musical melting pot, MACON is Aldean’s muscular take on pop-country through and through, with festival-ready party songs and heartfelt ballads cozying up to one another. Carrie Underwood joins Aldean on “If I Didn’t Love You,” Aldean’s 26th No. 1 country hit and one of his fastest-charting singles. Aldean rounds out the project with a handful of live tracks, including performances of his smash hits “My Kinda Party” and “Big Green Tractor.” Below, Aldean shares insight into a few of MACON’s key tracks.
“Small Town Small” “I was driving in my truck one day and I got a call from Brantley Gilbert. And he kind of does that every time we go in the studio, he'll call me up and send me some songs. And it's worked out really well in the past with ‘My Kinda Party’ and ‘Dirt Road Anthem’ and some of those. ‘Small Town Small’ was one of them. I just loved what it was saying. It just felt kind of patriotic, and a lot of stuff it was talking about was really relevant to right now, to me, and just kind of struck me in a certain way that I was like, ‘Man, I really want to say that, what that song's saying.’”
“If I Didn’t Love You” (feat. Carrie Underwood) “This song's moved [up the charts], I think, quicker than any song I've ever had. I felt like this song was something special, but you just never really know until you get it out there and get the reaction from everybody. The way it happened was so weird and just happened so quick. It was written, we went in a couple days later and tracked it, got it to Carrie. She loved it. I threw a vocal on it. And then a few days later we were cutting her vocal, and a couple weeks later it was at radio.”
“Watching You Love Me” “It's really bluesy and just melodically really cool. And it's a style that I've kind of dabbled in a little bit over the years with some things. Neil Thrasher, one of the writers on that song, is one of my favorite people in town, favorite writers. When he started singing the melody, I was just like, ‘Man, this is really cool.’ And this goes back to what we were talking about earlier when I was talking about all the influences from where I'm from. This to me is where I pull from like the Otis Reddings and those guys, to come in and do this kind of stuff.”