Amongst Aldean's numerous singles, b-sides, and songs that he's taken to the top of the charts with his distinct voice, guitar-heavy rhythms and multi-genre approach of blending diehard country music melodies with rock 'n' roll (and occasionally hip-hop) are several songs that originated from up-and-coming country artists or legendary old timers.
To wit: 2006's "Amarillo Sky" was first performed by McBride and the Ride, and he made a cover of Brantley Gilbert's "My Kind of Party." He's also known to offer up his take on Florida Georgia Line's "The Only Way I Know" and the Hank Williams, Jr. song "A Country Boy Can Survive." Aldean is quick to give credit where credit is due when performing or recording said songs, but ultimately takes each one and makes 'em his own, as well as oftentimes propelling 'em to greater popularity.
In the spirit of Country Thunder 2014, which kicks off today outside of Florence and will feature Aldean as one of its headliners, we're taking a look at the best songs he has covered over the years. Aldean, who is possibly the most electric performer of the four-day festival, is likely to perform at least one or two of 'em during his set on Sunday, April 13.
"Amarillo Sky" To cover another artist's song can be a great way to pay homage to your influences, and Aldean's 2006 single from his self-titled debut album was his first cover tune to rocket into the Top 10. This single came after he had established himself as the guy to keep an eye on with his first two songs "Hicktown" and "Why" from the same record. The lyrics of "Amarillo Sky" fit perfectly into the Aldean image of small town living and simple life influences--a common thread carried through his future albums.
The song was first recorded by McBride & the Ride in 2002 on their album Amarillo Sky, and has co-writing credits from the boys in Big & Rich along with Rodney Clawson and Bart Pursley.
"Johnny Cash" With the first single from his second album, 2007's Relentless, Aldean reached a whole new fan base with the faster and louder track "Johnny Cash". After flipping off his boss, Aldean gasses up his Pontiac and takes his lady love to Las Vegas with a Johnny Cash soundtrack for the ride.
Fellow country star Tracy Byrd originally recorded this song two years earlier for his Greatest Hits album, but it was Aldean who, again, brought the song into the ears of a mainstream audience.