The world of country music that Jason Aldean inhabits has no shortage of stellar songwriting, it’s why there’s a tradition of country stars populating albums with multiple covers and homages to the greats of old. That’s not to say that all new artists forego the songwriting process, how about Jason Aldean for example?
Jason Aldean has written some of his songs, though he prefers to avoid the songwriting process. Aldean has a specific stable of writers that he prefers to work with, achieving multiple chart-topping hits.
The creative process for every artist is different, and although there is a certain amount of esteem and prestige attached to the idea that a musician writes the entirety of their own music, sometimes it’s not optimal.
In the case of Aldean, the songwriting talent in the country music capital of Nashville is multiple generations deep, and there are many eager young songwriters churning out potential hits.
It’s a very common practice for musicians to work with specific writers whose talents and lyricism make a perfect match, especially if they are not songwriters themselves. We regularly see this in the pop genre, with some stars being made virtually overnight because of quality writing.
This notion of artificially produced stardom definitely doesn’t apply to Aldean, who despite not being on the writing credits for the majority of his discography, has multiple years of experience in the songwriting field.
Picture a young Aldean, fresh on the country music scene and full of grand aspirations to become the performer and musician that he always dreamt of. Unfortunately, the road to success is often filled with obstacles, or in Aldean’s case, a five-year detour.
Instead of taking directly to the stage as he wanted, Aldean was destined to end up in a position that made him able to uniquely understand the efforts and value of a talented songwriter.
Those beginnings that he had in the songwriting room, all day every day for five years, haven’t entirely jaded him to the idea of writing his own songs again, a fact evidenced by the fact that he has released a few tracks where he has featured on the credits.
Although that time with pen and paper instead of guitar and microphone might not have entirely put him off the songwriting process, it has served to make him incredibly critical of his own writing.
The strict standards that he applies to himself often mean that even if he has written a song for an album, if he finds a superior song during the creative process, then he will happily opt for whatever sounds better to him.
He has described his producer as becoming understandably upset at the entire writing then scrapping process that he sometimes has during the production of a new album.
Putting Together An Album
Aldean himself has commented multiple times on how much he prefers to use other songwriters. Not out of it being easier, but because he actually enjoys the process of going through the music and picking out what he feels is the best fit.
It’s an aspect of the industry that is only open to the best-selling country artists, as a record label will prefer to keep the hottest new songwriting talent and their songs under lock and key, reserved for a special few like Aldean.
Whereas a new artist might have insurmountable trouble even getting a couple of songwriters to work with them, especially if they haven’t made a name for themselves in some aspect of the music industry, Aldean’s options are wide open.
He has commented on having not just tens of songs to pull from when looking through the library of possible new tracks, but hundreds that are offered to him for prospective new albums.
Of all these prospects, the one writer that Aldean has historically found the most success with is Neil Thrasher, a winner of the ASCAP Songwriter of the Year award. Not only has Thrasher been present on his earliest work, but he was also the biggest contributor to one of Aldean’s arguably most successful albums.
Although he had topped the US Country chart, Aldean still lacked that badge of honor that well and truly proved his popularity with a mainstream audience. That honor was finally earned with Night Train, the Thrasher co-written masterpiece.