November 8th, 2011
10:34 AM ET
It's been a breakthrough year for Jason Aldean.
His fourth studio album, "My Kinda Party," is the best-selling country disc of 2011, and Wednesday he heads into "The 45th CMA Awards" with a whopping five nominations, including Album of the Year, Entertainer of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year.
"We haven't been nominated for any until this year," says the 34-year-old Georgia native. "It's like, pick one! I'd love to win one of those."
Aldean's been dominating the airwaves with his distinct blend of country and Southern rock.
In the same way that Kenny Chesney has cornered the market on beach-themed country songs, Aldean's built his brand as the dirt road good-time guy - the dude who parties out of the back of his truck, as a bunch of pretty girls gyrate around him in slow-mo. And the way his hospitality room is set up backstage at L.A.'s Gibson Amphitheater does nothing to throw cold beer on that image.
The room's centerpiece is a giant wardrobe case that's been converted into a liquor cabinet with a built-in bar.
"This is just a little road case that we take around with us to every show. After the show, it just kind of rolls right into the truck and comes off the next day. So it's a cool little thing," he explains.
It's an hour or two before Aldean hits the stage, and the show is sold out, as many of his concerts are these days. People are strolling the concourse in cowboy hats and boots - a rare scene in Hollywood.
Aldean and Lady Gaga have just been announced as two of the performers on CBS' "Grammy Nominations Live!" telecast at the end of November. This could be a good sign that Aldean will receive a little love from the Grammy folks when nominations are announced. But just when you think momentum is in your favor and you're unstoppable, there's always something to smack you down again.
In this case, it comes in the form of a souvenir from one of the nearby gift shops. A member of Aldean's crew has been shopping, and he pulls a picture frame out of a plastic bag.
"Seven bucks," he says proudly.
A photo of Aldean adorns one side of the frame. On the other, a bio that wrongly identifies him as another country star - Dierks Bentley.
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