Aaron Tippin to perform at The Maryland Theatre

March 24, 1999

Aaron TippinBy MEG H. PARTINGTON / Staff Writer

Simplicity attracted Aaron Tippin to country music.

"It says so much with so little," he said during a recent interview from his home in Liberty, Tenn., about 60 miles east of Nashville.

"The first time I ever heard Hank Williams sing the greatest hits, I was sold," says Tippin, 40.

[cont. from lifestyle]

Music started out as a hobby for Tippin, who grew up in the mountains of South Carolina. He thought his livelihood would be spent in the air, not soaring up the country music charts.

"I never had aspirations of being a professional singer," he says while taking a break from building a three-story garage onto his home, nestled on 320 acres. The structure will feature a three-car garage, gym and studio.


Tippin was a free-lance and corporate pilot who counted Bob Hope among his passengers. The energy crunch in the late 1970s led major airlines to cut jobs and changed his career pattern.

He started playing in honky-tonks in the 1970s and began pursuing music more emphatically when the marriage he entered at age 17 ended after nine years.

His latest gig is at The Maryland Theatre in Hagerstown, where he will perform two shows Saturday, March 27.

In 1986, Tippin performed tunes he wrote on Nashville Network's "You Can be a Star" TV talent contest, which earned him a song-publishing contract, according to information provided by Lyric Street Records. He moved to Nashville in 1987.

Around that time, he started to exercise his body as hard as his musical abilities. He began participating in competitive weightlifting. He counts winning the lightweight class title during a regional competition in Kentucky in the late 1980s as one of his greatest athletic achievements.

Tippin tries to work out every day for an hour to 90 minutes, which he says gives him stamina for his concerts.

In 1990, Tippin gave his first Nashville nightclub performance, which led to a recording contract with RCA Records. He then started sharing concert dates with Brooks & Dunn, Reba McEntire and Hank Williams Jr.

Tippin and Hope paired up again in the early 1990s for a 10-day tour in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm. Tippin's hit "You've Got to Stand for Something" was a favorite among the U.S. troops.

"You realize you're the only entertainment they'll see for a while," Tippin says. He felt a bond with the military men and women after that experience and says when they returned from the war he felt as if his long-lost children had come home.

Tippin has two children of his own. His daughter from his first marriage, Charla, 21, is a student at Tennessee Technological University and lives with Tippin and his wife, Thea, whom he married in 1995. He and Thea have a son, Theodore, 15 months.

The country star, who has sold more than 4 million records and scored six top-10 hit singles, says it's easier for him to write songs for himself rather than others. "I know what I want to say," he says.

Among those who have recorded Tippin's songs are Charley Pride, David Ball, The Kingsmen, The Mid-South Boys and Mark Collie.

Between 1991 and 1997, Tippin released the albums, "You've Got to Stand for Something," "Read Between the Lines," "Call of the Wild," "Lookin' Back at Myself," "Tool Box" and "Greatest Hits ... And Then Some."

When seeking other writers' works for his albums, he says the words have to fit him.

"It has to be about me or what I think," Tippin says.

Last year, "What this Country Needs" hit the music stores. The album includes a song titled "I'm Leaving," which Tippin calls, "one of the greatest country songs I ever heard. It's destined to be great, no matter who sings it."

The song, written by Aaron Barker, Ron Harbin and L. David Lewis, talks about a relationship that doesn't work out.

He's happy to say that's one work that does not mirror his life now.

-- Aaron Tippin albums and hits

Aaron Tippin's favorites:

* Food: Chili, though he says he loves food in general

* Drink: Cold water

* Color: Blue

* Music: Country and Big Band

* Singers: Hank Williams Sr., Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Tony Bennett

* Sports: Hunting and bodybuilding (the most he has squatted is 360 pounds; heaviest deadlifting weight was 425 pounds)

* Song: "Ramblin' Man" by Hank Williams Sr.

In concert

  • Who: Aaron Tippin country recording artist
  • When: Saturday, March 27, 7 and 9 p.m.
  • Where: The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown
  • Tickets: $25 and $30, plus $1.50 service charge
  • For information: Call 301-790-2000.
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