Jason Aldean — Macon (BMG)

Jason Aldean isn’t the first country artist to say it.

And surely he won’t be the last.

But this heartfelt collection proves there really is no place like home.

For Aldean home is Macon, Georgia and it’s where he cut his musical teeth.

It’s where he digested a diverse diet of country, blues, Southern rock and R&B.

It’s where he fused those influences and crafted his identity.

And it’s where Aldean took the first tentative steps towards the arena-ready sound that’s shifted millions of albums and thrilled thousands of fans.

Macon is so polished you can almost see the reflections of the 80s rock giants its radio-friendly anthems effortlessly replicate.

There’s more than a hint of Joshua Tree-era U2 about opener After You’s earworm of a riff.

And Story For Another Glass brazenly steals from Def Leppard’s library of hook-laden classics.

Tom Petty, Bryan Adams and more can be heard across Macon’s 10 studio tracks.

But Aldean’s USP is his classic country drawl.

And that’s why Macon manages to retain that core authenticity…

…however far producer Michael Knox stretches the boundaries of what truly constitutes country.

Aldean and Underwood pace magical Macon

It’s been impossible to avoid Aldean’s heavily rotated duet with Carrie Underwood this year.

And why would you?

If I Didn’t Love You is a classic ballad oozing passion.

It’s Aldean and Underwood at their teasing, intuitive best.

And it’s one of Rushonrock’s country tracks of 2021.

If I Didn’t Love You’s familiar refrain will clearly help to drive early sales of Macon.

But there’s much more to the first part of Aldean’s 30-track double drop (the full collection will be available next spring).

Small Town Small is a huge hit in the making.

And Watching You Love Me is a mirror image of Aldean’s very best weepies.

For any Nashville wannabe finding their feet in Music City, it’s likely Macon will become an instant go-to-guide.

Aldean mixes that stadium rock charisma with those firmly planted country roots to tick every possible box.

And it’s difficult to identify a weak spot.

Macon is majestic. Simple as.

Macon‘s live and dangerous

Don’t overlook the cracking live content showcasing Aldean’s 10-album career.

There are five songs here and five more to come when complementary release Georgia arrives next year.

It’s difficult to look beyond the fabulous She’s Country as a dizzying highlight.

But My Kinda Party captures Aldean at his brilliant best.

It’s not a perfect vocal.

And yet it clearly resonates with a St Louis crowd in raptures.

Heavy guitars and a bullish bassline allow Aldean to play out his 80s dreams.

In fact, the live content here is less country and more cock rock.

But that’s why Aldean’s shifted in excess of 20 million albums and chalked up 25 number one hits.

He’s the king of retro-modern country rock.

Macon has always been Aldean’s hometown. 

Now it’s home to the singer songwriter’s finest work in a decade.

Main image by Brian Higbee