Country artist Aaron Tippin to perform as part of Smithsburg Days

May 15 | Posted by: Bombplates

SMITHSBURG — He’s been a professional pilot and a truck driver, but when Aaron Tippin lands on stage at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 17, at Veterans Park in Smithsburg, fans will see him do what they remember best: delivering traditional, raucous country music.

“Wear your seat belt. This ain’t no stand behind the microphone, tap your toe country show. We gonna have some fun. Just be ready,” Tippin said during a telephone interview from a hangar in Spartan, Tenn., where he was working on one of his airplanes.

The Stayin’ Country Concert Tour is part of Smithsburg Days, and is a benefit for Wounded Warriors, a cause Tippin said he wholeheartedly supports.

“My dad was a great patriot and he kind of instilled that in me. I go to Iraq and Afghanistan (to perform for the troops). The war’s been going on 11 years, we’ve been there nine times. I got a great appreciation for them out there laying it on the line just for me so I can get out here and enjoy a night like we’re gonna have in Maryland, thanks to them,” he said. “So you know, I’m very fond of ’em. And I got a little saying, ‘As long as they’re deployed, I’m gonna go see ’em.’”

Tippin is known for hits such as “There Ain’t Nothin’ Wrong with the Radio,” “I Wouldn’t Have it Any Other Way,” “You’ve Got to Stand for Something,” “Workin’ Man’s Ph.D.,” “My Blue Angel,” “Kiss This” and “Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly.” Next year, he will celebrate 25 years in the music industry, an accomplishment he said he didn’t expect to see.

“Honestly, I treated (my success) like there was no tomorrow. I’m just thankful for every single second. I tried to take it as far as I possibly could and I still go, ‘Wow, that’s crazy. How did we do all that?’,” he said with a laugh.
Tippin said he owes his longevity to his fans.

“I’m long over the music business type of deal. All that’s not as important as those people that come and have been coming for 24 years. They just keep coming back and saying ‘hi.’ It’s not like a fan/audience relationship, it’s old friends gettin’ together. Golly, I’ve known these people forever,” he said.

A long career in the music business wasn’t Tippin’s first avocation choice.

“Aviation is my passion,” he said. “Aviation is what I meant to do, but the energy crunch of the late ’70s kinda put (an end to) that. So I moved on to ... pickin’ and grinnin,’” he said, adding that he is also a helicopter pilot, a certified flight instructor and a certified aircraft mechanic.

Tippin said he takes his cues as a musician from the traditionalists.

“Hank Williams Sr., that’s probably my biggest influence. But Jimmie Rodgers, Ernest Tubb, all the old guys. Man, I was a big fan of old country music,” he said.

As country music changed in the last decade, Tippin took it upon himself to make sure that musically speaking, he could keep on doing what he wanted to. He launched his own label, NIPPIT Records, in 2005.

“I did my share in the trenches. That was all good and fun, but it’s all very controlling. So I kinda got tired of all that so I said, ‘hey, what the heck. Let’s just go out here and start enjoying ourselves like we used to.’ That’s kind of my attitude so we opened a little label,” he said.

The “we” Tippin referred to is his wife since 1995, Thea, who also records on the label.

“She’s the real singer in the family. I just happened to end up with the working part of it,” he said.

Tippin’s latest album, “In Overdrive,” is available at Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores, and is a tribute to truck drivers, another career that’s close to his heart.

“In between my time at the airport and pickin’, I was a truck driver. I still got an appreciation for those guys and gals that are pullin’ it up and down the road. That is not an easy job, I’m here to tell you,” he said.

Tippin said that while “trucker tunes” used to be a staple in country music, they’ve fallen off the radar in recent years.

“I thought it was great music. I don’t know who decided (trucker music) wasn’t cool, but it wasn’t me,” he said. Because he has his own label, he decided to bring the music back. “There’s nobody to say no,” he said with a laugh.

The album contains covers of trucker songs such as “East Bound And Down,” “Drivin’ My Life Away,” “Prisoner Of The Highway” and “Girl On The Billboard.” He said he also co-wrote and recorded a new song for the CD, “Drivin’ Fool.”

As far as his radio hits go, Tippin said he doesn’t have a single one that’s most requested.“That seems to vary with the folks. The girls that have been through a divorce, they love ‘Kiss This,’ cause that’s what they play for their husbands. ‘(You’ve Got to) Stand for Something,’ that’s for the guys that grew up with a dad like I did ... a real icon in my life,” he said.

In fact, Tippin said his own favorite song is a tribute to his father.

“Thea and I wrote a song about my dad after he passed away. It’s called ‘He Believed.’ I did a tribute to Father’s Day for Cracker Barrel and I got to put that one on there. It was sure cool,” he said.

Tippin was also once a bodybuilder and has been referred to as “The Hillbilly Hercules.” At 55, he stays in great shape, although he has had a few injuries. Last year he had rotor cuff surgery, and several years ago he had knee surgery, he said.

“It’s just old age creeping up on me. I just gotta be a little more careful,” he said, noting that he still works out.
“I gotta be able to run when Thea’s chasing me with that fryin’ pan,” he joked.

As he hones in on a quarter-century in country music, Tippin said he continues to look to the future.
“We’re gonna try and make that 25 years of Aaron Tippin a big thing. We just working on that,” he said.
“Other than that, we’re just having a good time. I really enjoy the acoustic things we’re doin’. I’m big in that. I get to tell the story behind the songs that I don’t always get to do that in the big shows because we’re moving along at a pretty good pace when it’s a full band show,” he said

“So It’s just really fun and neat and so I’m just thrilled to be where I am in my career and my life It’s a great life and I’m truly blessed,” he said.

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