Tonight, you’ll get to see Jason Aldean step onstage at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium and perform his most recent #1, “You Make It Easy,” during ABC’s annual CMA Fest special.
It’s a far cry from the Georgia native’s earlier trip to Music City in the nineties, when he came to the festival as a fan.
“I went to Fan Fair when it was still over at the fairgrounds…” Jason says, recalling the scene. “It’s just like this little small stage, and all the record companies would go in and it would be like their night to perform… And all the artists would sit over there in the hot — no air conditioning…where they would sign autographs… It was just a completely different vibe.”
“And to come over here and play the stadium now and see what that has all turned into is pretty unbelievable,” he observes.
Jason may be the ACM Entertainer of the Year now but back then, he was just a fan experiencing his first brush with greatness.
“It was like George Strait, Tracy Lawrence was a big one for me, Alabama was my Beatles…” he tells ABC Radio. “Travis Tritt, those guys… It’s like, ‘That’s Mark Collie!’… Just meeting anybody back then was just so cool…”
The “Drowns the Whiskey” hitmaker believes the growth of CMA Fest is simply a testament to the devotion of the fans.
“We went from playing a little racetrack… Now we’re here inside this stadium… And all these thousands of people that come to town… It just goes to show you how great country music fans are and how much they support their favorite artists. I don’t think you find that in any other kind of music.”
Watch for Jason on the CMA Fest special starting tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.