Aaron Tippin highlights music career with award-winning film

Oct 19 | Posted by: AT Team

Former trucker, country music artist and now award-winning filmmaker? OOIDA Life Member Aaron Tippin recently won a Telly Award for his documentary “Aaron Tippin – 25 years,” adding to his list of accomplishments. Tippin recently spoke with Land Line about the film and his unlikely trajectory from trucker to award-winning musician.

Like many people growing up in South Carolina in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Tippin had a love for bluegrass music. He played bluegrass in high school, but realized there was not much of a career in that genre. A blue-collar man with a blue-collar background in a blue-collar town, Tippin became a truck driver to make ends meet. He’s also a life member of OOIDA.

“It’s been a pretty blue-collar life for me,” Tippin said. “I was a truck driver hauling heavy equipment to start with.”

He eventually moved to hauling dry freight. His love for transportation did not stop there. Tippin is also an avid aviator with an instrument-rated commercial pilot’s license, helicopter pilot, certified flight instructor and certified flight mechanic.

A working-class man earning a living. Where did the music come in?

“Out of left field,” Tippin said. “Believe me, I had no ambitions whatsoever to be in the music biz, but it’s just one of them things. God just threw it in my lap and there it was.”

Giving up hope as a performer, Tippin thought he might land a career as a songwriter. He had moved to Nashville in 1986 as a songwriter. During that time, he was cutting tracks trying to make it as a performer. Just when he thought the dream had disappeared, he received a record contract in 1990 from RCA.

From that point forward, Tippin has been writing and performing songs that resonate with the blue-collar community for more than 25 years.

“I just write songs about life, and that was life,” Tippin said. “Hard work and a good job, that was important to me. I just wrote songs about it, because the truth is nobody except Merle Haggard did.”

And it was that dedication to the working class that gave Tippin a huge following. Despite his success in the music business, Tippin has always been a blue-collar man. He said someone will likely ask him for identification if he is wearing a tuxedo, but he is recognized at truck stops and other places occupied by hard workers or what he called “core Americans.”

In 2009, Tippin released In Overdrive, an album dedicated to truck drivers. Tippin pointed out that country music used to always have songs about truck driving or something related. There was one on every playlist. Those days drifted away, so Tippin wanted to bring it back.

One of Tippin’s latest successes is a session he did with another OOIDA member, singer-trucker Tony Justice. Tippin and Justice team up for the title track on Justice’s, “Brothers of the Highway” released by Southern Coast Records. 

After 25 years in the business, Tippin wanted to commemorate his long career as a musician with a documentary. The film is a great way for fans and newcomers alike to get to know Aaron Tippin the man as well as the musician. 

“I don’t tell everybody what I’ve done, because I think other people ought to toot your horn, not yourself,” Tippin said.

Turns out the right people were telling Tippin’s story. Recently, the film won a Telly Award at the 37th Annual Telly Awards. According to its website, The Telly Awards are the premier award honoring the finest film and video productions, groundbreaking web commercials, videos and films, and outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs.

It was an unexpected honor that highlights Tippin’s accomplishments since his days as a trucker. Acknowledging there are many truckers who are also musicians, Tippin has some simple advice for the musically talented road dogs out there:

“Just do what you do and love it,” Tippin said.

Here’s a tip he extends to all truckers: Family Traditions Cafe in Cookville, Tenn., has some of the best food out there with plenty of truck parking available. In fact, he was dining there while speaking with Land Line.

Tippin still holds a valid CDL. In fact, one driver could not make it out to the West Coast during one tour, so Tippin took over driving duty as only one other person was qualified to drive.

Once a trucker, always a trucker.

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer  (for the online article, CLICK HERE

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