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Aaron Tippin - Now & Then  
Album Review By: Cheryl Harvey Hill, Sr. Staff Journalist

Aaron Tippin makes it perfectly clear on his newest album, Now & Then, that he is, without a doubt, "Ready to Rock (In a Country Kinda Way)." Always innovative in his music and methods, his own Nippit (Tippin spelled backwards) label has joined forces with Rust Records to infuse some new energies into what the industry, and his fans, already view as a fine-tuned honky-tonk performer. For me, personally, I was a little nervous when I heard all the hype about Tippin being "ready to rock" because I've always felt that he did rock. "Kiss This" was so in your face that my ole country soul thought it was rock. All kidding aside, no need for the long-time Tippin fans to panic because, for him, going forward is about reaching back; back to his Carolina roots and tapping into his southern soul, that is. And when it comes to soul, Tippin has plenty; he also has a very big heart (*see note).

According to recent press releases, the most significant change you may notice about Tippin's new single might just be the way it is promoted. He and wife Thea are now co-managing his career and theirs is a hands-on company and their focus is on the music and the fans. The first single to be released from the album is "Ready to Rock (in a Country Kinda Way)." Tippin sings "I got Conway and Jones flowing through my veins / But I'm ready to rock in a country kinda way / It's the same ole me so don't be afraid / I'm ready to rock in a country kinda way." Their reason for releasing this song first is simple; because they both like it and because they could. This is the freedom that comes with owning your own label and producing your own albums. From where Iím listening, they made a great choice. 

Tippin introduces several of the songs with an audio intro. He gives a little background about the songs and the songwriters. I found it interesting and it lends a more casual, intimate, feel to the album. There are only two slow tracks among the thirteen cuts on this album, that is if you count "My Blue Angel" as a slow track. To tell you the truth, I really was hoping there would be another "For You I Will," however, there is still much to like here and I'm sure that a lot of folks are going to be rockin' out, in a country kinda way, of course.

Tippin says, "I am in the music business now more than I've ever been before. I'm like a six-year-old on a bicycle on my first downhill run. I don't know what's at the bottom of the hill, but I am excited and unafraid. So it's scary and fun to have all these emotions at once." It is obvious that Tippin doesn't need training wheels for that bicycle and I'm equally confident that he has so much momentum that going uphill will be equally as easy for him.

*Note: As an Army veteran and military spouse, I would like to thank Aaron Tippin for what he does for our troops. He was one of the very first country music artists to entertain the troops during the first Gulf War over fifteen years ago and, without much fan fair, he has remained loyally supportive ever since.

Click on the CD cover to order yours!
1. Ready to Rock (In a Country Kinda Way) 
2. Could Not Stop Myself 
3. He Believed 
4. Whole Lotta Love on the Line 
5. Working Man's Ph.D. 
6. Call of the Wild 
7. There Ain't Nothin' Wrong with the Radio 
8. That's as Close as I'll Get to Loving You 
9. I Got It Honest 
10. I Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way 
11. I Wonder How Far It Is Over You 
12. Honky-Tonk Superman 
13. My Blue Angel 

Related Links:
Official Website 

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Real People Reviews

Being a faithful follower of Tip's since his first album, I admit I was a bit apprehensive hearing that he was going to redo the hits with a more 'mature' voice. I liked the yesteryear twang of "I Wonder How Far It Is Over You"... I loved the yodeling in "Blue Angel!" But then I realized that Aaron would never go against the proverbial grain of his own soul for the sake of a commercial fiasco. 
Of course I was right. I can honestly say that had I sat at the mixer boards and produced this album myself, I wouldn't have changed a thing. Aaron, it's perfection. Every last whine, cry, and from-the-heart sigh that I have emulated so many thousands of times over the last 15 years while singing along with your tunes remains intact, yet a richer, riper voice was eminent. Congratulations, my friend. See you on the road. 
~ Johnny - McDonough, GA


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