1. UPDATED — Sept. 2, 9:00 p.m. ET: The one-time album stream has finished.
Explaining his decision to debut the album online in a one-time streaming event, Aldean said: “For us, it’s all about coming up with our own creative ways to get our stuff out there versus doing the same old thing. … We spent a long time cutting this thing and I’m proud of it.”
4. Aldean, 37, recorded Old Boots, New Dirt’s 15 tracks over the course of a year.
“For me, [Old Boots, New Dirt] just seemed like a fitting title to put on this album that we made during all this madness,” Aldean, who filed for divorce from his wife of almost 12 years in 2013, said in August. “In the last couple of years, it feels like everything I’ve done has been on blast, personally and professionally. That title and that song, ‘Old Boots, New Dirt,’ is about starting with a clean slate. I’m the same dude, but we’re gonna start over and hit some uncharted territory here.”
5. The album’s steamy lead single, “Burnin’ It Down,” was released in July. It has since spent weeks atop Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and sold some 600,000 digital copies.
“Country music’s done a really good job not only at keeping up but leading the pack when it comes to the digital age,” Aldean said. “The way things are now, if you have a platinum album in any genre, that’s pretty incredible. And in country music, we still have artists that do that.” Each of Aldean’s five previously released studio albums have been certified platinum.
In August, as country legend Garth Brooks prepared to make his back catalog available for sale online for the first time, the Recording Industry Association of America named Aldean the most downloaded male country artist in the genre’s history, with 21.5 million digital song downloads or on-demand streams under his belt.
6. For some listeners, “Burnin’ It Down” is more “pop” than “country.” Aldean has heard the criticism, and he is unfazed. “If somebody can put a definition on what country music is, please tell me,” he said.
“I’m pretty knowledgeable in country music, and I’ve never once seen where it says, ‘Country music doesn’t have a drum loop,’” he said.
“It’s great to put your stuff out there and give your fans a chance to tell you what they think. But if you’re not careful, you can read way too much into what people are saying. No, [“Burnin’ It Down”] is not Hank Williams Sr. or George Jones, but this also isn’t the ’60s and the ’70s. As great as that music was, you have a new wave of artists that were influenced by a whole different world of music, and country music is gonna evolve just like any kind of music.”
Working alongside country radio acts and expats like Taylor Swift, Eric Church, and Luke Bryan, Aldean hopes to push country music to its open-minded limit. On Old Boots, New Dirt, R&B sounds mingle with Southern rock, pop, and classic Nashville, the latter best expressed on late-album cut “Two Night Town.” If the result is a little multiple-personality, it’s fun.
“When we’re cutting a record, we don’t have any rules,” Aldean said. “It’s just about finding the best songs we can find.”
Aldean’s personal life is propelled by the same no-regrets outlook as his music. “I’m happier than I have ever been,” he wrote on Instagram in August, thanking fans who’ve supported his relationship with girlfriend Brittany Kerr in the wake of his divorce.
Though it’s hard to classify, for Aldean, Old Boots, New Dirt a moving-on album, and one that he’s eager to play live. “When drama goes down my favorite place to be is onstage,” he said. “You sit there and you read all this crap, and then you step out on stage and see that people still support you in doing what you’re doing.”
7. Here’s the entire Old Boots, New Dirt tracklist, with songwriting credits:
1. “Just Gettin’ Started”
(Chris DeStefano, Rhett Akins, Ashley Gorley)
2. “Show You Off”
(Neil Thrasher, Tony Martin, Brett Beavers)
3. “Burnin’ It Down”
(Rodney Clawson, Tyler Hubbard, Brian Kelley, Chris Tompkins)
4. “Tryin’ To Love Me”
(Wendell Mobley, Hillary Lindsey, Neil Thrasher)
5. “Sweet Little Somethin’”
(David Lee Murphy, Ben Hayslip, Marv Green)
6. “Laid Back”
(Michael Tyler Spragg, Jaron Boyer, Adam Shoenfeld)
7. “Tonight Looks Good On You”
(Dallas Davidson, Rhett Akins, Ashley Gorley)
8. “Too Fast”
(Chris Stapleton, Lee Thomas Miller)
9. “If My Truck Could Talk”
(Wendell Mobley, Neil Thrasher, Andrew Pates)
10. “Old Boots, New Dirt”
(Lee Thomas Miller, Tom Shapiro, Neil Thrasher)
11. “I Took It With Me”
(David Lee Murphy, Ben Hayslip)
12. “Don’t Change Gone”
(Neil Thrasher, Tony Martin, Michael Dulaney)
13. “Miss That Girl”
(Ross Copperman, David Lee Murphy)
14. “Gonna Know We Were Here”
(Brett Beavers, Brett James)
15. “Two Night Town”
(Tim Nichols, Brett James)
9. Listen to “Burnin’ It Down” on Spotify:
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