A guest contribution from friend and fellow The 9513 alumnus Sam Gazdziak. Thanks, Sam!
Country superstar Jason Aldean admits that he was “stunned” when his generous donation of country music artifacts was nearly discarded by the Country Music Hall of Fame. The singer says that he is looking for other options to preserve and display the valuable objects, many of which he has owned for, like, months.
“So much of country music’s past is being forgotten, and I wanted to do something to keep it around,” he says, taking reporters on a tour of cardboard boxes in his basement. “The day we forget country’s pioneers, like Hank Jr. and Rascal Flatts, is the day that we lose our roots.”
Rummaging through boxes labeled “wallet chains – historical” and “guitar picks – unused,” Aldean showed off some of his treasures.
“Look at all this stuff. Luke Bryan’s first Bedazzler. A bunch of Toby Keith’s do-rags. A coconut bra Zac Brown wore to his first Jimmy Buffett concert. Ooh, check this out,” he said, fishing out a plastic baggie filled with a half-eaten chicken drumstick. “This is from a bucket of KFC that Colt Ford ate when he and my boy B-Gil wrote ‘Dirt Road Anthem.’ You can even see the teeth marks where he tried to gnaw through the bone. This stuff is priceless.”
Aldean said he dropped off 10 boxes of treasures at the Hall of Fame several weeks ago. Mere hours later, he returned to see them being tossed into a trash bin.
“They told me they didn’t have any room for these things, so I took it all back,” he says, clearly exasperated. “Hell, I’ve been to the Hall. You know what they have in there? Ugly suits and black & white photos. Tell me you can’t get rid of some of that stuff and bring in some things that represent real country music.”
Aldean picks up a large binder with “Audience Demographic Analysis” written on the spine. “This book right here,” he says, holding it reverently, “predicted which songs from My Kinda Party would do the best with the female 25-54 radio-listening demographic. Would you rather see this piece of history in the Hall or some old suit with rhinestones and wagon wheels on it?”
The prize of his collection, Aldean says, is a cassette of Wanted: The Outlaws that he bought from a used record shop last week.
“This is like the first country album ever made, and the guy was going to sell it to me for fifty cents. C’mon, man! It’s got Willie on it, and Waylon, and… that other guy, and Willie’s wife. Once I told the clerk how important this is, he changed the price to three hundred dollars. I still got a bargain on it, believe me.”
When contacted for comment, a spokeswoman from the Hall of Fame explained that the museum has thousands of artifacts and is unable to display everything it has collected or been given. She claimed to have no particular recollection of any donations from Aldean.
Moments later, her story changed: “Wait, you mean those boxes of crap that got left by our front door a couple weeks ago? I thought that was some junk that fell off the back of a Goodwill truck or something.”
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