Tippin combines two great passions in latest CDSTEVE ZIMMERMAN
The News Herald
Five million albums down the road, Aaron Tippin finds himself governed by twin passions. One is the clear path that has always captured his imagination.
"I still love playing for the folks," he said. "I love to see people loving the old songs, and to hear them roar when we've done a good job."
The other passion, embodied in his wife, Thea; daughter, Charla; and sons Teddy and Thomas, the latter who recently turned one, gives purpose to it all.
"After all is said and done I depend on my family," he said. "That's the most wonderful part of my life, and the real saving grace to me."
Now more than ever, Tippin brings the two together in the grooves of his latest CD, People Like Us. Musically, lyrically, and thematically, the CD amounts to a state-of-the-Aaron document, one that he is undeniably proud of.
"No matter what this record does in terms of the history of country music," he said, "this is the one I'll always enjoy because it's full of the important things in my history - my music and my family."
Tippin comes to the Marina Civic Center at 8 p.m., Jan. 11 for one show. The concert is a benefit for the Children's Home Society. Tickets are priced from $22.50 to $37.50. They can be purchased by calling the Civic Center Box Office at 769-1217.
Two songs on People Like Us feature vocals by family members. Thea does a duet with Aaron on The Best Love We Ever Made, and Teddy ends a rollicking Big Boy Toys - his favorite on the album - by saying the title in his two-and-a-half-year-old voice close enough to a microphone to make the cut.
As befitting a family-written song, The Best Love We Ever Made makes it clear that love's most treasured outcome for a parent is the child or children it produced. Aaron calls it "one of the best songs I've ever written."
Kiss This, the other Aaron/Thea composition, is vintage Tippin, full of honky-tonk attitude. The rowdy side is further represented by the title cut, co-written by David Lee Murphy and Kim Tribble. Tippin's tender side is showcased in songs such as And I Love You, Always Was, and I'd Be Afraid of Losing You.
Tippin, who has written anthems to working people, adds another to the genre with a song to single mothers called Twenty-Nine and Holding.
Tippin's music always has been a mixture of tough and tender, romantic and philosophical. His first hit, You've Got to Stand for Something, established him as an artist with something to say and showed that he has a compellingly pure country voice to say it with.
The record went Top Five, and since has been spun more than two million times on radio. Just as important, it helped establish a fanatic fan base that has been with Tippin ever since.
After that, the hits came regularly. There Ain't Nothing Wrong with the Radio, a song about a car that became a country anthem, soared to No.1, and cemented his relationship with rowdy fans everywhere. My Blue Angel was classic country that established Tippin as a vocalist with an achingly personal style.
Working Man's Ph.D., I Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way, and That's as Close as I'll Get to Loving You expanded both his fan base and his reputation.
There was a period where the hits were harder in coming, and Tippin and his former label, RCA, parted ways. Despite his not having a record deal for two years, the fans remained steadfast. They recognized in him a kindred spirit, and with or without current singles he spoke to them musically as few artists had done before.
Tippin's concerts remained spirited excursions into some of the best and most authentic live country music anywhere. Then, as Lyric Street Records was getting established in Nashville, he got a call inquiring about his interest in a new label deal.
"One thing they really wanted was for my writing to be a bigger part of my career," he said. "They also wanted me to co-produce my first album for them. I thought, 'Maybe these guys really do want Aaron music.'"
They did indeed. The first Tippin/Lyric Street collaboration featured For You I Will, which strengthened Tippin's bond with his fans and opened new chapters in both creativity and chart success that continue with People Like Us.
During his downtime, Tippin and his family live on a 300-acre farm outside Nashville.
"I think the greatest gift a child could have is being raised out in the boonies, because there's so much to learn from nature, and from learning to make some of your own fun," he said.
He is a major fan of the "boonies" himself.
"That's the most wonderful part of my life, the real saving grace to me," Tippin said. "When I'm really frustrated, I can go to the house and grill some chicken and look out over the Tennessee hills and see if I can hear any turkeys gobbling out there."
Tippin's life has been that of a journeyman, filled with scrapes and scars, requiring a ton of toil to produce every ounce of glamour. But he has made peace with the process.
"I've changed a lot since the early years," he said. "I think I've learned to take the good and bad in stride, and to let the heartache roll off my back.
"Not every song is going to be a hit, and you learn that what you've got to do is keep moving on. When the record isn't going so well, I can still write another new song or have a great day on the tractor out on the farm. You learn to make good out of what you can."
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