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Aaron Tippin sings to the common man

March 27, 1999|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Aaron Tippin showed a Maryland Theatre audience Saturday night that he brings to country music what Bruce Springsteen brings to rock 'n roll - an anthem for hard working, middle class America.

Both singers, through their songs, appeal to wide blue-collar audiences.

Tippin, in two performances Saturday, illustrated the philosophy with such standbys as "For You I will." The song was a favorite with the women in an audience large enough to fill about three-fourths of the seats in the 1,300-seat theater.

Tippin pushed his common man theme by assembling a child's bicycle on stage while working his way through "Working man's Ph.D.," and "I Got it Honest."

He opened with a political campaign vignette and seemed out of out of character in a white shirt, tie and sport jacket singing "What This Country Needs," from a podium bedecked in red, white and blue bunting.

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The real Aaron Tippin emerged during his second song when he shed the shirt, tie and jacket emerging in snug gray t-shirt and jeans and displaying a physique that looks like it spends more time in a gym than on a stage.

Tippin, 40, a one-time weightlifting title winner, said in an interview this week that he tries to work out every day for up to 90 minutes.

"He's got a great body," swooned Barbara Orr, 38, of Hagerstown. She came to the concert with friends Ed and Pam Wilson and their 11-year-old son, David.

"Yes, It's his body," agreed Pam Wilson.

Tippin's brand of straight-forward music and his legions of loyal fans have netted him a string of million-selling albums on the country music charts.

Tina Parsons, 29, of Chambersburg, Pa., knows why.

"He's been there, done the work. He knows what it's all about. You can really relate to his music," she said.

"He's not a spoiled brat. He sings for the working man," said Cathy Green of Libertytown, Md.

Debbie Norris, a Tippin fan "since he started," is a volunteer at the theater. Saturday night she was working the coat-check room during the first show, but she bought a third-row ticket for the second.

"He's true country. He talks to and about the working class every day through his music. He sings of love and trust and the lack of both at times," she said.

It was the first Aaron Tippin concert for Bill and Selina Russell from Winchester, Va.,

"He's down to earth," Bill Russell said. "He's a working guy too,"

Paul Schmidt, an usher at the Maryland, said an April 29 concert featuring the music of the late swing band leader Sammy Kaye may bring in as large an audience as Tippin did on Saturday, "but it will be a different crowd," he said.

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