Some people call him the pumped-up version of Hank Williams.
But whatever his shtick, the "blue-collar singer with a taste for big
machinery, body building and belting out brash, hard-country hits," as
Launch's Bill Hobbs describes him, country music lovers can't get enough of
Tippin's music isn't canned country pop. His bold nasal-twang voice is
instantly recognizable on the airwaves, and his cache of solid country hits
spouting old-fashioned values have earned Tippin a solid fan base. They've
spawned trivia questions, such as: what kind of car is in the Kiss This and
People Like Us videos? (A 1970 Cuda.) What kind of dog is Buddy? (A
To the delight of audiences, Tippin's highly physical shows accentuate his
well-honed physique. He's been known to jump out of a toolbox. During one
show, Tippin put together a bicycle, which he later donated to a local
radio station for Toys for Tots, one of his favorite charities.
"Anybody who comes to the show gets a real taste of Aaron and how he feels
and what he thinks and what he's like," Tippin said.
Born and raised in the Appalachian Mountains around Travelers Rest, S.C.,
Tippin, 44, fell in love with music at the age of 9 when his dad brought
home a $30 piano. That year, inspired by Williams, Lefty Frizell, Hank
Thompson and Jimmie Rodgers, he wrote his first song.
Tippin said he developed strong vocal cords by singing over the sounds of a
diesel engine tractor while bailing hay, running combines and "plowing the
back 40," he said. "That's where it all began."
The son of a professional pilot, Tippin seemed destined to follow in his
father's footsteps. In between playing football and running track as a
teen, he learned how to fly and work on airplanes. On weekends, he played
country and bluegrass in area honky-tonks.
Tippin became a multi-engine instrument commercial pilot and flew as a
corporate pilot while logging flight hours in anticipation of joining a
major carrier. Around that time, the fuel shortage hit and major commercial
airlines began furloughing pilots. So in 1986, Tippin headed to Nashville.
For a while Tippin worked in a factory, competed in bodybuilding contests
and in his spare time wrote country music songs. In 1990, after working
with The Kingsmen, David Ball, The Mid-South Boys and Charlie Pride, Tippin
landed a recording contract with RCA Records. He later switched to Disney's
Lyric Street Records. His first five albums attained gold or platinum
His highest-selling album was the 2000 release People Like Us. It debuted
on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart at No. 5. It was the highest
first-week sales for Lyric Street. Thea Tippin, his wife since 1995,
co-wrote Kiss This and the duet The Best Love We Ever Made, which she also
recorded with Tippin. They have performed together at the Grand Ole Opry
and there's a chance she might perform with Tippin at Grand Casino in
"Maybe we'll get to (tour) some, but one of us has to keep a firm leg on
the earth at home," Tippin said. "That's kind of her duty ... course, we do
that big duet thing and if everybody likes her singing better than me, I'll
be glad to stay home for the next 10 years and let her come out here. I'll
be Mr. Mom."
His latest CD, Stars and Stripes, features the hit single Where the Stars
and Stripes and the Eagle Fly and Love Like There's No Tomorrow, a duet
Far removed from his factory days, Tippin has made his home with his family
Thea and their sons, Teddy, 5, and Thomas, 2 in a log home
on a 300-acre farm east of Nashville. He also has a daughter, Charla, 25.
He collects farm machinery like tractors, trucks and backhoes and
airplanes. At last count, he had seven: four Cessnas, two Piper Cubs and
one Chipmunk. His hunting supply business, Aaron Tippin Firearms, has
stores in Tennessee and North Carolina. Not surprisingly, in his spare
time, he enjoys deer and turkey hunting.