Aaron Parker hails from South Alabama and made the move to Nashville, Tennessee under the influence of some of country music’s greats. Citing inspiration from the likes of 1990s genre stars, including Garth Brooks, Travis Tritt, Tim McGraw, and Kenny Chesney, Aaron adopted an “old school progressive” sound that has fared well for the kindhearted, hard-working rising artist.
Because of Aaron’s deep appreciation for the artists who changed the face of country music in the nineties, his interview with NashvilleGab, which was an all-encompassing discussion about life, love, and music, was approached uniquely. The questions were built around country song titles from the nineties, lending to a fun, informative conversation with the black hat-donning man who will win your heart within just moments of speaking to him.
Kenny Chesney – “I Go Back”
Aaron began singing in church with his mom playing piano, but it was the choir teacher who brought Aaron out of his seat and into the spotlight in front of the congregation. At the age of four, Aaron was handed the microphone and belted “Jesus Loves Me”, a song he usually reserved for the bathtub.
Everybody was so complimentary! My church family growing up was always super supportive of me singing, and once they figured out that you can hold a note, because my church was so small, you are kind of put in a rotation. Which means at least one Sunday a month you are going to get up there and do a solo or a special. So, that was pretty regular for me up until about tenth grade.
During this time, Aaron also took guitar lessons, but he realized soon enough that he didn’t want to necessarily learn the notes as much as he wanted to learn songs. Recognizing that guitar lessons were not where he belonged, Aaron quit and continued to just teach himself the chords of songs he wanted to play.
It was when Aaron was approached by a rock band, asking if he wanted to be its lead singer, that his music career was truly underway, giving him the opportunity to travel the country and perform at parties. Bit by the performing bug, Aaron segued into a collegiate education, but later left university and took classes at a community college instead. It was there he met the person who convinced him to consider moving to Nashville.
He called me up and said “man, I got in [to Belmont]. This guy mentored me, he’s done a lot for the business, he did a lot of stuff at Warner Brothers in the nineties, and he wants to get you a couple of minutes at his house to play him a couple of the songs you’ve been writing and just kind of tell you the next step.”
Trusting the opinion of this person, who didn’t “have any skin in the game”, Aaron gained the confidence he needed to make the trek to Nashville and give music a real shot.
Tim McGraw – “I Like It, I Love It”
Now that Aaron’s dreams are his realities, he couldn’t be happier. The one thing he especially likes and loves about his job is the moment right before he enters the stage during a show and his band revs up to kick off the set.
My favorite thing about my job, by far, is when the band kicks on and I’m not out on the stage yet and I hear the crowd light up and they are just ready for the night and I can feel the energy coming through the speakers and through them. . . . The stage, by far, is my favorite part of the job. The fans are what make the stage my favorite part of the job. If they don’t show up, we’re doing rehearsal!
Tim McGraw – “Something Like That”
While Aaron has been performing before the fans he holds so dear, the country singer-songwriter has had a few moments that left him awestruck. And though he doesn’t get mesmerized by his peers in the industry, he did recall one particular artist who made him stop and pinch himself to prove he was awake.
The moment I met Randy Owen from Alabama. I don’t get starstruck, but meeting Randy Owen was a pretty big pinch me moment.
Jo Dee Messina – “Downtime”
Aaron isn’t all work all the time, though he is extremely focused on making all of his dreams continue to come true. Like anybody else, he does revel in the downtime he gets when he gets it. In fact, he cites the imbibing of “great tequila” as one of his favorite past times.
I love great tequila. I can’t do the bad stuff. It’ll make you wake up regretting everything! . . . What I love to do if I have the time is just sit here and cook a steak on my grill, and watch the sun go down, and drink tequila, and hang out with my family. Pretty simple.
Aaron admitted to collecting his liquor of choice, but not letting the collection grow too much before he cracks open a bottle and watches his diligent gathering go down the pipe. However, it isn’t all that often he actually gets the kind of downtime most of us anticipate. Rather, Aaron’s time off typically turns to work, as he uses those moments wisely to plan for the up time.
Travis Tritt – “Here’s a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)”
With the constant on-the-go nature of Aaron’s career, he has to feel the effects sometimes. So, when the rocking cowboy is starting to need a shoulder to lean on, he typically sets his sight on two people in particular: his parents.
I don’t really know if I’m a mama’s boy or a daddy’s boy . . . because both of them give different advice, but both very valuable. My mom is the softer side of things, more emotional side of things. She’s definitely the person to go to when you’re real pissed off. My dad has a great gut. An unbelievable gut. And he knows people. So, his wisdom of people is something I really cherish that he has passed down to me. It’s how to read people, how to understand, and how to relate to people even if you don’t agree with them. It goes very far in our industry. My dad and my mom. I mean, they’ve been there since the beginning.
George Strait – “Write This Down”
All those steps from the very beginning have led to where Aaron is today. He recently released his debut EP, lending pieces of himself to his profession and giving fans a taste of the man who puts the Aaron in Aaron Parker. Part of displaying so much of himself in his music comes from his writing. When Aaron writes, he channels the writers he has always admired; the ones who have written some of his favorite tunes.
Wendell Mobley, Neil Thrasher, Craig Wiseman, David Lee Murphy, Brett Jones. A lot of the guys who wrote the stuff we talk about with Kenny and Tim. I think they still have timeless, elegant lyric. The guy who I go to as far as my own personal writing inspiration, the songs I wish I wrote were “Where the Green Grass Grows”, “The Dance”, “In My Mind I’m Going to Carolina”, James Taylor.
Growing up in a home filled with seventies rock and pop, as well as classic country, has given Aaron a well-rounded palette to work with while sitting down to paint the canvas in front of him during a songwriting session.
Garth Brooks – “Shameless”
Since Aaron’s EP is out now, containing some of the results of the aforementioned songwriting sessions, we asked him for a “shameless” plug of the collection of songs. Aaron didn’t disappoint!
This EP is really, really cool because it’s the first five years of my life in Nashville, and it’s encompassing the last twenty-five of my life, so starting in Alabama, playing high school football, getting in trouble, having fun, getting a Z28 Camaro and fixing it up when I was a kid, watching corn tassels blow in the wind, leaving that with my band in the back of a U-haul van for Nashville with my guitar on my back, missing my mom, missing my family, breaking up with my girlfriend right before I left town. This EP, if you’ve ever been through anything like that, this is going to tell you those stories. That is what this is about. It’s not about my memories, it’s about your memories, because I think a lot of it is congruent, but that’s why I think this going to be just a great EP. It’s really real. There is nothing on this EP that I tried to put on. I didn’t try to put an uptempo song here, and like, something else here. I literally just put the songs that were authentic. And, it wasn’t a radio play for me. It was an authentic thing for me.
Garth Brooks – “If Tomorrow Never Comes”
As all artists know, each day they can do what they love to do for a living is an absolute blessing. Being able to touch lives, heal hearts, and soothe souls with music is something only a chosen group of people on this Earth is able to do. Aaron Parker is among those who can use his talent and passion to change people’s outlooks and the one thing he wants to make sure fans know about him is that he is filled with love for the people and opportunities that surround him.
I love my family. I love great songs. I want to be known as a song guy. A guy who gave writers a way they could get their songs cut. . . . I’m a “best song wins” kind of guy. That’s it. I don’t care if I write it. I don’t care if a fourteen-year-old kid writes it. I don’t care if Neil Thrasher writes it by himself. I will cut that song if it’s relevant to me and what I do and my fans and how they think. . . . That’s what I want to be known as. A guy who loved his family, who loved great songs, and a guy who put on one hell of a show.
Follow Aaron Parker on Twitter, Facebook, and his website to find out when you can see him put on that hell of a show. You can also sign up for Aaron’s fan club now to get a free copy of his debut EP, along with other merchandise.