Jason Aldean knows that blue-collar kids in the south are just as likely to party to Jay-Z and Metallica as Hank Williams Jr. and Brad Paisley, so he combines hard rock, rap and country for a hard-edged, alternative mix on his new album, "My Kinda Party" (Broken Bow).

Jason Aldean, ‘My Kinda Party’

(Broken Bow)

With his fourth album, “My Kinda Party,” Jason Aldean stands at the forefront of a movement combining country themes with hard-rock chords. This time, he branches out into country rap, too, on a cover of “Dirt Road Anthem,” previously recorded by co-writers Colt Ford and Brantley Gilbert.

To balance his rocking sound, Aldean ties his songs to country music with stories about Southern boys making noise to blow off steam. A rare platinum-selling country act on an independent label, Aldean may rap about “swervin’ like I’m George Jones,” but his 21st-century version of country music takes its sonic cues from rock acts like Nickelback and its rap flow from Uncle Kracker. Aldean realizes that, in the modern South, blue-collar kids are as likely to party to Jay-Z and Metallica as they are to Hank Williams Jr. and Brad Paisley.

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More than ever, Aldean succeeds at bringing alive a demographic rarely seen or heard in the media — and he does so with a fresh sound that steers clear of lyrical clichés.

Michael McCall, The Associated Press

Other new releases

Elvis Costello, “National Ransom” (Hear Music)

Various Artists from Mali and Cuba, “Afrocubism” (Nonesuch)

Mariah Carey, “Merry Christmas II You” (Island)