Country vocalist and guitarist Jason Aldean was born in Macon, GA, in 1977. His parents separated when he was three years old, and he spent his childhood with his mother in Macon through the school year at a time of spending the summers with his father in Homestead, FL. He fell early under the spell of country songs and made his first public appearance as a vocalist at a VFW hall in Macon when he was 14 years old. Soon he was a regular at area talent contests, and a year later he joined the house ensemble at Nashville South in Macon.
Aldean began pursuing a material career on a full-time basis not long after his graduation from high school and, with his father as a booking agent, was soon gigging in college towns throughout the Southeast and up and down the Eastern Seaboard. Aldean privately financed an eight-song CD at a time of this period to sell at shows, recording it in Nashville in 1996.
Michael Knox spotted Aldean at an Atlanta showcase a year or two later, and signed the vocalist to a songwriting record deal with Warner-Chapell Publishing, which allowed Aldean to move to Nashville in 1998. When a couple of recording deals fell through and his songwriting contract was about to expire, Aldean was on the verge of giving up on the songs business when he drew in the attention of the independent label Broken Bow Records, which issued his debut album, simply called Jason Aldean, in 2005. Aldean came back to the studio in January 2007 to work on his follow-up release, Relentless. The album, featuring the single “Johnny Cash,” hit stores in May.