Sunday, September 30, 2012

The continued case for Aldean. Because band members deserve attention too.

As my title states, band members deserve attention too. They deserve to be appreciated and loved by the fans as well. Especially when they're as involved as these guys are. I mean, you seem them in pretty much every video that Jason does and not just in the background either. They tend to get featured pretty heavily. And when you go see them live, it's the same thing. These guys are more than musicians, they're entertainers. Jason's right to use words like we and ours when it comes to their show because that's what it is: their show. Obviously Jason is always going to be the main attraction, but I promise you that you could focus on any of the band guys and still be entertained.

In fact, I'd recommend doing that. At any concert you go to. Take some time to watch everyone on that stage, if only for a little while. Musicians are pretty interesting to watch. There's so many different kinds of players out there. Different kinds of bands. So what kind of band is this one? Well, these guys are certainly capable of playing country music and playing it well. But I'd have to classify them as more of a rock band. And a true one, meaning that they play like a band instead of like a group of musicians. Confused? A band plays together whereas in a group of musicians it's every man or woman out for themselves. I'll take a true band like this one any day.

And now I think it's time to give each of the five some attention. Seems only fair, right? I'll be doing this doing this alphabetically by last name which means we're starting off with...


Guitarist Kurt Allison. One of the three band members who have been with Jason from the beginning and who have played on all of his albums. Kurt, for those who might not know, is usually found on Jason's right/the audience's left. Two words come to mind when I think about Kurt: musicality and purpose. He's a very musical player, one who seems to play with the song itself in mind. With him, it's not about throwing a million guitar licks in there to prove he knows them like so many guitar players do. That's what I mean by purpose. He's not trying to show off; he's playing what fits the song. And, God love him, he understands that guitars are capable of producing more than one tone. Why every guitar player doesn't get this, I don't know.

Next up: steel guitarist Jay Jackson. I was so happy when Jason added him a couple of years (or so) ago because I love the steel. It's easily my favorite instrument; it adds so much color to songs and is just a beautiful instrument. Now, as I said, I've seen a lot of bands and a lot of steel guitar players and they tend to be just kind of there in the background, not drawing any attention to themselves. And then you go to a Jason Aldean show and there's Jay. With his arms covered in tattoos and his bare feet, proving that the steel guitar can rock. Musically and literally. What makes it work is that he's a great player. He can play it like it's a rock and roll instrument, which no one does, and then completely change gears for a song like "The Truth" and show that yeah, he can do the traditional stuff too.

Then there's bassist Tully Kennedy, another of the three who've been with Jason from the beginning and who plays on his records. I'm going to be honest and admit that I never really paid much attention to the bass until relatively recently. The bass may be the one instrument no one really thinks about and really, that's a shame. The bass is so important to songs; it adds so much and is a crucial part of a song's backbone, so to speak. The foundation. The thing about the bass is that it's so easy to bass players to get away with the bare minimum, really only playing what's required. Which works okay. But what I like about Tully is that he doesn't always go with the typical. His bass lines tend to be pretty interesting and musical.

Next up: drummer Rich Redmond. I almost feel like a picture of him should show up when you search for the word beast because that's basically what he is. Talking strictly about his skills as a drummer. And to say he has skills is a vast understatement. I should mention that he is the last of the three musicians who have been with him from the beginning. And yes, can be found on all the records. Rich is such a dynamic drummer and one who seems to put so much of himself into his playing. My favorite thing about him is that he never seems to run out of energy. Even during the slower songs. The tempo might change, but the intensity doesn't.

Last, but not least, is guitarist Jack Sizemore. Like Kurt, he seems to play with the song in mind. Sometimes you go to shows where there's multiple guitar players and it feels like they are constantly trying to compete with each other and show the other guy up. That's a pretty big pet peeve of mine. Because while each person is trying to prove that they are the better player, the music suffers. Always. It's much better when musicians play with each other as opposed to playing against each other. With Jack and Kurt, their playing complements and supports each others. They each have their times to shine and when one of them has a solo, the other one stays more in the background. Jack's a very musical player as well.

These five guys are so well suited to play for Jason Aldean. I really couldn't imagine any of them playing for anyone else and I couldn't imagine Jason singing with anyone else. This might be an odd thing to say, but in a show that full of great songs and entertainment, my favorite moment might just be the last. When all six guys head to the front of the stage and take a group bow. This is pretty unusual. The only other artist that I can think of who does a group bow with his band is Keith Urban. I'm pretty sure there's a couple others who do. I wish they all did. It's a great reminder that the show they just put on was a group effort. That it wasn't just about one person; it was about all of them. It was about working together as a team to put on the best show possible. Yeah, I love the group bow.

And I pretty much love this group. Again, there's a lot of good bands, some not so good bands, and some great ones. This is one of the greats. If Jason wins Entertainer of the Year it won't just be a win for him. It'll be a win for all six of them. It'll be a win that was well deserved.

So the next time you go to a concert, whether it's to see Jason and the boys or someone else, don't forget to show some appreciation for the band. It's not all about the artist. That's probably the biggest point I want to make. It's not all about the artist. I'm thinking that I might make this a thing - every now and then pick someone's band and put the spotlight on them for once. We'll see.

If there's someone's band that you love or if you love these guys too, please feel free to say so in a comment.  Thanks for reading!