One of the hardest working men in country music is making his way back to the Old Pueblo with a new CD dedicated to the people who keep this nation moving: American truckers.
Aaron Tippin’s new CD, “In Overdrive,” is a collection of country classics that celebrate the trucker lifestyle – something the singer can relate to as a former rig driver himself.
The disc is Tippin’s second release from his newly established record label, “Nippit” – Tippin spelled backward – in a joint partnership with Rust Nashville label founder Ken Cooper. The artist was more than happy to leave bigger recording companies behind in favor of having creative control of his work.
“Everybody is scratching for a place on the charts,” Tippin says during a recent phone interview. “So it’s nice to be able to do the kind of projects that I want to do and the fans will like.”
Trucker classics such as Jerry Reed’s “Eastbound and Down” and Maggard Cletus’ “White Knight” have been dusted off and repolished by Tippin. The album also includes Tippin’s pro-drilling anthem “Drill Here, Drill Now,” which first debuted on “The Sean Hannity Show” on Fox News Channel last fall.
Tippin had his heart set on recording an album that honors the American truck driver, many of whom have been hit hard by the weak economy and high gas prices.
“I used to listen to these songs when I would be driving and thought ‘I could record these songs,’ ” the 50-year-old Tippin says. “And now I have.”
Tippin’s truck-driving roots go way back. He learned how to drive a truck at the age of 6 on his family’s farm. He says he also learned a strong work ethic, courtesy of his father, and has based his life’s philosophy around it.
Later in life, Tippin used the skills he learned on the farm to land a commercial truck driving job, as well as many other jobs, before making the move to country music permanently. Before becoming a country music star, Tippin worked nights at an aluminum factory in Kentucky and then would drive 60 miles to work as a staff writer for Acuff-Rose Music in Nashville by morning.
“I kept up that routine for two years before they finally gave me a permanent job,” he says. “I work as hard as I can because I’m a farm boy.”
Many professionals who have worked with Tippin consider him “the hardest working man in country music” because of his dedication to his craft and the hardships he had to endure early in his career.
“I don’t know about being the hardest working man in country music,” Tippin says. “But I’m definitely the most routine.”
Hard work isn’t Tippin’s only virtue; he is a strong believer in giving back to the community. He builds bikes onstage at shows and then donates them to that city’s local “Toys for Tots” organization. In the past 10 years, he has built and donated more than 800 bicycles to the group.
Another recipient of Tippin’s generosity is the U.S. military. Once a year, he entertains troops in Afghanistan. He began performing for military stationed abroad in 1990 when he was invited to join the Bob Hope USO Show during the Gulf War. During his first performance, the crowd gave him a standing ovation when he finished his hit “Where the Stars and Stripes Meet.”
“When they stood up after I played,” he says, “it was heartfelt.”
IF YOU GO
What: Aaron Tippin in concert
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Desert Diamond Casino, Interstate 19 and Pima Mine Road
Price: $18 advance, $23 day of show
Info: 321-1000, www.ticketmaster.com