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Ex-trucker Tippin’s new CD an ode to road warriors

Citizen Staff Writer


Tucson Citizen

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

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

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

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.”


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

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