Las Vegas Sun

April 18, 2014

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Take 5: Music:

For country singer Aaron Tippin, flying was first career choice

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Publicity Photo / MATTHEW H. STARLING

Aaron Tippin

If You Go

  • Who: Aaron Tippin
  • When: 8 p.m. Saturday
  • Where: Henderson Events Plaza, 200 S. Water St.
  • Admission: Free; 267-2171

Beyond the Sun

Country star Aaron Tippin is full of contradictions. Most country performers prefer beer and pickup trucks. Tippin owns a winery and flies airplanes. While many entertainers burn the candle at both ends, the 51-year-old Tippin is into nutrition and bodybuilding.

He grew up on his family farm in South Carolina, where he developed a solid work ethic and the deeply rooted patriotism that infuses songs such as “You’ve Got to Stand for Something.” He lives on a 500-acre farm in Tennessee with his wife and musical collaborator, Thea, and their two sons.

Tippin will perform a free concert in Henderson on Saturday as part of the city’s annual Super Run Classic Car Show — a three-day event that features hot rods and muscle cars as well as classic and vintage autos.

He talked recently with the Sun about a variety of topics:

1. On his diverse interests

“I’m what you call a jack of all trades, master of none. Farmer. Outdoorsman. My wife tells me I have too many hobbies. I do a little bit of everything. Me and my wife are great wine fans and me, being a “Mr. Do-It-Yourselfer,” couldn’t stand it till I had learned how to make wine. I’m a pilot. I was a professional aviator before I got into country music. The bodybuilding thing came along when I was about 25 and honky tonkin’ too hard. My first wife threw me out because of that and I finally decided I was going to try to live past 30 so I started working out, getting in shape. I competed when I was younger, but on the road it’s impossible to compete because the contests are on the weekends when I’m working. But I still work out, first thing in the morning.”

2. On a career in country

“I was studying for my airline transport rating. I came along about the same time the energy crunch hit in the late ’70s. When I saw Delta start furloughing senior captains I realized me working as an airline pilot probably wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. So I quit and started doing what I like next best, picking a guitar and singing a song. I came up from the honky-tonk world.”

3. On his mentors

“First and foremost my dad. He was my hero in life. That’s probably the first one that comes up on the list. But I was a big fan of Hank Williams Sr. — he turned me on to country music. Then there was Jimmie Rodgers, Ernest Tubb. The old guys I looked up to growing up.”

4. On his most recent album

“ ‘In Overdrive’ is a collection of old trucking songs, the most popular ones that folks remember the most. I put them all together in a tribute to the trucking world. That was another job I had along the way. Being raised a farm boy, the first job I ever had was driving a hay truck for 25 cents an hour. I have a great appreciation for the people out there doing it.”

5. On his next project

“I’m always working an album. Right now I’m finishing up a jazz album — not mine. I’m working on one with my wife, singing one song with her. Saxophone player Jim Horn is producing her album.”

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