Ruth Musick, the mother of country music legend Alan Jackson, and known affectionately by Alan Jackson fans as “Mama Ruth,” passed away Saturday (1-7-17) at her home in Newnan, Georgia—the same town where Alan Jackson was born. Mama Ruth was 86-years-old.
She was born April 2, 1930 in Lowell, Georgia, and married Alan Jackson’s dad Joseph Eugene “Daddy Gene” Jackson at the age of 16 in 1946. Jackson’s dad died in 2000. The couple had five children, including Jackson’s four sisters Diane, Cathy, Carol, and Connie.
“Mama Ruth” wasn’t just your average musical mother. She lived in the same house in Newnan, built around her father’s tool shed from the time Alan Jackson was born, all the way until she died. In the humble home, Alan Jackson grew up primarily listening to gospel, and it inspired him to record an album for his mother called Precious Memories in 2006 to give to her as a Mother’s Day present. Cut with a small band, Jackson never planned to release the album commercially, but when he was assuaged to do so, it became a fan favorite, eventually going platinum. Jackson even recorded a follow up called Precious Memories Volume II in 2013.
After releasing the original Precious Memories record, Alan Jackson took his stripped down gospel band to the “Mother Church of Country Music,” a.k.a the Ryman Auditorium, and in a moment captured on camera, serenaded his mother with the album’s final song written by Dale Dodson called “I Want to Stroll Over Heaven with You.”
“Mama Ruth,” as well as Alan Jackson’s mother-in-law, can be seen embracing throughout the performance.
RIP “Mama Ruth.”