Hey there, MD family! I’m the recording and touring drummer with country rocker Jason Aldean, and I’m proud to be writing this blog for a magazine I enjoy immensely! I started playing drums at age eight and am the product of the great music education programs in the Texas public school systems. I cut my teeth in the music scene of Dallas, Texas, and relocated to Nashville in 1997.
The last five years have been an amazing journey for all of us in the Jason Aldean organization. I’ve played on all three of Jason’s records, Jason Aldean, Relentless, and the current release, Wide Open. The records have sold well over two million units and produced eight top-ten singles, including the number-one hits “Why,” “She’s Country,” and “Big Green Tractor.” The latter enjoyed a four-week run as the number-one country song in America. Both “Big Green Tractor” and “She’s Country” were the number-one ring tones on the planet across all genres earlier this year. What an amazing feeling!
I have been a journeyman drummer for many years and have really enjoyed having a very steady gig. This is what we all strive for. We’ve done 150 to 200 dates per year for the last five years. I’m massively grateful, and I earn my supper every night by going out and kicking butt! The band counts on me to lay a thick groove, “drive the bus,” and inspire them to play their best. I never take it for granted, and I always try to “stop and smell the roses.”
Music makes a big difference in many people’s lives, so I always try to stay in the moment, journalize, and take tons of pictures in my travels. I really try to soak it in. Here are some of the highlights of this whirlwind 2009 so far: opening slots on a Toby Keith tour, opening slots on a Keith Urban tour, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Bonnie Hunt Show, The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien, The Late Show With Jimmy Fallon, CMT’s Crossroads with Bryan Adams, ABC TV’s CMA Music Festival Special, Fox And Friends, The CMT Awards With Keith Urban, and the 4th Annual Breast Cancer Benefit in Nashville.
I enjoyed backing up Bryan Adams and Keith Urban immensely–they are some high-energy rockers cut from the same cloth. Our rhythm section has worked very hard to create a unique “band sound,” which is not always the norm with touring backing bands. I think both Keith and Bryan picked up on this and had fun with it. What a thrill!
Nashville is a great place to be based out of because it’s in the heart of the country. As a result, you can leave on a Wednesday, play dates on Thursday through Saturday, and come back home for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. This allows me to keep one foot planted in the Music Row recording scene.
This year I’ve worked with awesome artists and friends like Josh Thompson, Amy Dalley, Brian Davis, John Edwards, Garrett Parris, Julie Forrester, Krista Manna, Emily West, David Bradley, Eldon Huff, Jalayne Tradler, Jon Roniger, Scott Getlin, and Courtney Dickinson. All of these artists have an Internet presence, and they would love for you to check out their music! I recently recorded some tracks for a fantastic duo called Sweet Magnolia that Dan Huff is producing. I’m looking forward to finishing this and hearing it all over the radio. There is also a killer duo called the Stellas, who will be releasing a single to radio soon.
This year also saw the birth of the new entertainment company I started with my partners and bandmates (Kurt Allison, Tully Kennedy, and David Fanning) called New Voice Entertainment. We are producing and developing acts in a variety of genres. I would love for you to check out their music and become their friends: myspace.com/finesse (rap rock music with real instruments), myspace.com/natalieann (folk pop that screams TV/film placement), myspace.com/brandonlepere (country pop with strong vocals), and myspace.com/davidfanning (now pop/rock).
I think it’s very important in this day and age to have a strong Web presence. Online networking has done wonders for my exposure and bookings. It’s a great way to let the world know how you play through recordings and videos. Don’t be shy, get in the game and let the world know what you can do! You can have artists and producers go directly to your YouTube channel and see cool videos of you playing in a wide variety of styles and settings. Try it! It’s free! Please feel free to look me up on MySpace and FaceBook. I would love to connect with you!
For those interested in touring, remember, “We play for free and get paid to travel.” (Ha!) I had a dream as a young man to play drums every day for a living, and I followed through with that vision. It’s not for the faint of heart. With practice, persistence, and determination it can happen for anyone. The most important aspect of this or any business is to keep a positive mental attitude. Attitude is everything. It will open or close doors for you. I will be checking in more often. Please feel free to reach out!