Country singer Aaron Tippin will be bringing more than his suitcase full of country hits to Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe when he performs Friday night.
Tippin, whose hits include "Ain't Nothing Wrong With the Radio" and the motivational "You've Got To Stand For Something," does something unique at each of his shows. He brings on stage with him a cartoned bicycle and without missing a beat while singing, assembles the two-wheeler. He donates the bike to the local Marine Corps League "Toys for Tots" campaign.
This is about the fourth time Tippin has performed in Jim Thorpe. At each concert he has donated a bike to Toys for Togs.
It's not something he just does here. He does it at all his concerts. He said hasn't kept track of how many bikes he has donated to Toys for Tots around the country, but is certain it is well over 1,000.
"It's fun to be a part of that (Toys for Tots) and just know a need child will get a bike," he said in a phone interview.
He said the bike construction began a number of years ago while he was playing a special concert for the Marines. "I was invited to go to Ohio and play for Toys for Tots," he said. "I thought as an awareness, I would donate a bike."
He has kept the concept going.
The clean-cut, mild-mannered performer recalls the start of his career.
He had one concert, then was asked to join Bob Hope on a tour of Saudi Arabia. "I started my career with the Bob Hope Show entertaining the military," he said.
"Tippin scored most of his hits in the 90s, with "You've Got To Stand For Something (or You'll Fall For Anything)" being his break-out hit. "My dad inspired that song," he said. "He's the guy I wrote that song about."
The performer has a lot of interests including body-building, aviation (he's a licensed pilot), and outdoorsman. He said he loves coming to Penn's Peak not only for performing, but for exploring the mountains and woodlands that surround the venue. "It's one of my favorite places," he said. "I love it there."
Although always keeping himself busy, he said most of his time is spent with his family. He has two sons, ages 11 and 14.
Tippin has crusaded for the working man and woman ever since he began his career with the uncompromising "You've Got To Stand For Something."
Other hits he's had include "I Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way," "My Blue Angel," "Working Man's Ph. D," "I Got It Honest," "That's As Close As I'll Get to Loving You," and "Kiss This," a song he co-wrote with his wife and partner-in-everything, Thea.
After the terror attacks of Sept. 11, he immediately wrote a defiant patriotic song, "Where the Stars and Strips and the Eagles Fly." The song reminds people what it means to be an American.
Tippin has since made numerous trips to Iraq and Afghanistan to sing for the troops.
Like many country stars who were once big, radio stations have pretty much put their music on the shelf and replaced it with what has been categorized as "new country," which is music with less twang and more like pop.
The industry has also changed, said Tippin, stating he realizes it's unlikely he'll ever see the success he had back in the 90s. But that doesn't bother him.
"I've had a good run," he said. "I don't know if I really want to go do that again, the long tours and other things that go with it. Not at my age. I'm 53. I love just doing my hits."
He said people coming to Penn's Peak can expect a high energy concert. "Be there," he said. "It's going to be fun."
Aaron Tippin will be at Penn's Peak at 8 p.m. Friday. Opening will be local singer Nicole Donatone. Tickets are just $25 and $30.