Jason Aldean is one of the most successful artists in country music at the moment, with 15 million albums sold, but his tours have dealt with more death than most. Rolling Stone says Aldean has been “seemingly snakebit” while on the road.
Over the course of a year, Aldean’s tour bus struck a man on a highway in Indiana, a 22-year-old somehow fell to his death down a trash shoot in Cleveland, and someone committed suicide in a restroom during a concert outside Atlanta, though there was scant media attention.
"I saw some stuff during all that that I don't ever care to see again," Aldean told Rolling Stone in 2014. "It was something that was really weird. It seems like we had a streak of things like that happening to us this year."
But nothing compares to fleeing the hail of bullets as an audience is mowed down. Aldean was headlining the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas when a shooter opened fire from the 32nd story of a nearby hotel.
"It's hard for me to imagine how this could all happen to one performer, and I can't imagine what he must be feeling," says Nashville-based Rolling Stone editor Joseph Hudak, who has profiled Aldean and spent time with him on his estate south of town.
Aldean has an "everyman persona" that endears him to his audience, Hudak says. The musician's fans call themselves "Aldean's Army."
“Not to choose the wrong analogy, but in a way Aldean’s Army and Aldean went through a war. It’s unfathomable to process," Hudak says. "I don’t know how the fans and how Jason himself are really going to walk through this together."