The Working Man

| November 01, 2001

Aaron Tippin is often found sitting in a truckstop, jawing with truckers over a cup of coffee. The country music singer is comfortable in that setting because before he made it big as a country music singer, he drove a truck. The performer says truckers recognize him more than anyone else.

“Once I was in back of the [Grand Ole] Opry, dressed up in my show clothes. I walked through the country music fans saying, ‘Excuse me.’ They didn’t know me,” Tippin says. “If I stop at a truckstop, go inside and walk though, someone comes up to me because they’ve recognized me. I’m more recognized in a truckstop in my T-shirt and blue jeans than anywhere else.”

Tippin was born in Pensacola, Fla., but at age 4 his family moved to South Carolina. He lived in a small town that had five churches, a school and a few small stores. “The town wasn’t big enough to have a name,” he says.

When Tippin was 22, a buddy of his was looking for someone to drive long-haul with him. Tippin got his commercial driver’s license and drove for Carolina Western and Cooper Motor Lines, hauling dry freight cross-country. After a few years, Tippin decided trucking wasn’t for him and stayed home to run a bulldozer.

He doesn’t have any trucking tales to share, but says his life on the road was no different than any other trucker’s. “I did the same thing every day that everyone else out there does,” he says. “I drove a truck and did it the best I could.”

Some of Tippin’s hits include, “Working Man’s Ph.D.,” “Got It Honest,” “You’ve Got to Stand for Something,” and “Toolbox.” Because of these hits, many fans consider Tippin a spokesman for the working man, and it’s a title he’s proud of.

“I think folks attached that phrase to me, and I like it,” he says.

These days, Tippin, his wife Thea and their children live on a 400-acre farm 65 miles east of Nashville, in Smithville, Tenn. On the Tippin farm, there is a 50×100-foot shop where he works on his bus and truck. There are also several barns, a house and a collection of old Mack trucks.

Tippin was a pilot before becoming a singer, and he has a hangar that holds several old airplanes. A Piper Cub, Cessna 195, Cessna 185, Cessna 150 and Piper Cherokee 140 are among the airplanes in his hangar. Tippin received his airplane mechanic’s license after passing a six-and-a-half-hour test that consisted of a three-hour written test, a practicum and an oral test. When he’s home, Tippin often works on his Mack trucks and airplanes himself.

“The Macks are running and the airplanes are flying,” he says. “Life is good.”

Tippin added two stories onto his house that holds a recording studio and a weight room with a view of the Tennessee mountains. He and his wife work out for the physical activity, and plan to continue their hobby.

Before making it as a country singer, Tippin hauled dry freight in South Carolina.

“I started doing it years ago and can’t seem to stop. I forgot to quit,” he says. “It’s a great stress reliever.”

While on the road, it’s not uncommon for Tippin to jump behind the wheel if needed. In the
early years of his career, he would load his records in his truck and deliver them personally to stores close to his hometown. The store owners loved it and so did his fans.

“We did anything to get the records out there,” Tippin says. “They thought it was real cute.”

The Working Man

| November 01, 2001

Aaron Tippin is often found sitting in a truckstop, jawing with truckers over a cup of coffee. The country music singer is comfortable in that setting because before he made it big as a country music singer, he drove a truck. The performer says truckers recognize him more than anyone else.

“Once I was in back of the [Grand Ole] Opry, dressed up in my show clothes. I walked through the country music fans saying, ‘Excuse me.’ They didn’t know me,” Tippin says. “If I stop at a truckstop, go inside and walk though, someone comes up to me because they’ve recognized me. I’m more recognized in a truckstop in my T-shirt and blue jeans than anywhere else.”

Tippin was born in Pensacola, Fla., but at age 4 his family moved to South Carolina. He lived in a small town that had five churches, a school and a few small stores. “The town wasn’t big enough to have a name,” he says.

When Tippin was 22, a buddy of his was looking for someone to drive long-haul with him. Tippin got his commercial driver’s license and drove for Carolina Western and Cooper Motor Lines, hauling dry freight cross-country. After a few years, Tippin decided trucking wasn’t for him and stayed home to run a bulldozer.

He doesn’t have any trucking tales to share, but says his life on the road was no different than any other trucker’s. “I did the same thing every day that everyone else out there does,” he says. “I drove a truck and did it the best I could.”

Some of Tippin’s hits include, “Working Man’s Ph.D.,” “Got It Honest,” “You’ve Got to Stand for Something,” and “Toolbox.” Because of these hits, many fans consider Tippin a spokesman for the working man, and it’s a title he’s proud of.

“I think folks attached that phrase to me, and I like it,” he says.

These days, Tippin, his wife Thea and their children live on a 400-acre farm 65 miles east of Nashville, in Smithville, Tenn. On the Tippin farm, there is a 50×100-foot shop where he works on his bus and truck. There are also several barns, a house and a collection of old Mack trucks.

Tippin was a pilot before becoming a singer, and he has a hangar that holds several old airplanes. A Piper Cub, Cessna 195, Cessna 185, Cessna 150 and Piper Cherokee 140 are among the airplanes in his hangar. Tippin received his airplane mechanic’s license after passing a six-and-a-half-hour test that consisted of a three-hour written test, a practicum and an oral test. When he’s home, Tippin often works on his Mack trucks and airplanes himself.

“The Macks are running and the airplanes are flying,” he says. “Life is good.”

Tippin added two stories onto his house that holds a recording studio and a weight room with a view of the Tennessee mountains. He and his wife work out for the physical activity, and plan to continue their hobby.

Before making it as a country singer, Tippin hauled dry freight in South Carolina.

“I started doing it years ago and can’t seem to stop. I forgot to quit,” he says. “It’s a great stress reliever.”

While on the road, it’s not uncommon for Tippin to jump behind the wheel if needed. In the
early years of his career, he would load his records in his truck and deliver them personally to stores close to his hometown. The store owners loved it and so did his fans.

“We did anything to get the records out there,” Tippin says. “They thought it was real cute.”

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