Alan Jackson’s Appearing on the ACMs? This Could Be Fun.
The 2021 ACM Awards are this Sunday, April 18th. I know, I know. Try and contain your excitement everyone. Though it feels like award shows might be one of the biggest entertainment casualties in the post-pandemic reality—especially when you look at the ratings of some of the most recent presentations—the ACMs will still transpire whether you choose to pay attention, or (likely) not.
The 2020 ACMs were actually a surprising bright spot of the 2020 awards show season, even with COVID-19 restrictions. They certainly outclassed the CMA Awards last November, which feel like they’re still in damage control after pulling a number of devastating PR boners. And the performance lineup for the 2021 ACMs also has a few bright spots.
Along with Miranda Lambert opening the show with Elle King and later performing with Jon Randall and Jack Ingram, Dierks Bentley has tapped the War & Treaty to perform with, Carrie Underwood will sing with CeCe Winans, and Ashley McBryde will also perform.
But most exciting, and perhaps most explosive, is that none other than Alan Jackson will be in the building ladies and gentlemen, and is being extended the opportunity to take the stage.
Now let’s not get too ahead of ourselves here. At the moment, Alan Jackson is scheduled to perform his song “You’ll Always Be My Baby” from his new upcoming album Where Have You Gone, and a special mashup of “Drive (For Daddy Gene)” from 2002. Very likely, he’ll get up on stage, and that’s all that will transpire.
But if you know anything about Alan Jackson and awards shows, you know he’s the ultimate wild card. He’s got no truck or patience for your pedantics, and dog and pony awards show nonsense.
Alan Jackson’s awards show hijinks are the stuff of legend, and started early in his career at the 1994 ACM Awards. Uncomfortable at the stuffy nature of the presentation, at some point he slunk back to the dressing rooms, and changed out of his tuxedo and into a Hank Williams T-shirt with the sleeves cut off.
Oh, and then the producers thought they would be able to get away with telling Alan Jackson he had to sing his song “Gone Country” to a backing track while his band mimicked the music. To show them up, he commanded his drummer Bruce Rutherford to play with no sticks to tip the audience at home off, and to get ACM producers scrambling as the protest aired on live television.
And then of course there was the time at the 1999 CMA Awards where Alan Jackson stopped in the middle of his own song to launch into “Choices” by George Jones. Just before the 1999 CMA Awards, George Jones was asked to perform an abbreviated version of the song. George, feeling that he wasn’t a “baby act” as he put it, refused, and boycotted the show. And in a super act of class, Alan Jackson, while preforming “Pop A Top,” cut his own song short, and launched into George’s cut.
“We were all so nervous,” Alan Jackson later recalled. “The guitarist had this solo in the middle of ”’Pop a Top,’ and the song sort of modulates up at the end of the solo. I signaled to him that we were going to do it, and he just stopped. I looked over at him and he was sweating. The boy looked like he was going to bite his lip off. Then I hit that C chord to start ‘Choices.'”
Then there was the time at the 2016 CMA Awards when Alan Jackson stood up from the front row of the awards right in the middle of a performance by Beyonce, and walked out of the arena. This was the last time Alan Jackson attended a big country music awards show.
Alan Jackson also performed the protest song “Murder on Music Row” on the 2000 ACM Awards with George Strait, though that was a planned part of the presentation. Jackson’s current single is also a lament about the direction of country music in “Where Have You Gone.” It’s kind of a shame that’s not the song he’s scheduled to perform on the ACMs.
But then again, with Alan Jackson, you never know what you might get. He’s clearly still frustrated about the direction of country music, and is more than willing to speak out about it. Perhaps he will mind his P’s and Q’s, and be a perfect gentlemen come Sunday night. After all, there is no big pop star scheduled to perform at the moment, and since most of the presentation will be socially distanced and commence in separate locations (and some will be pre-recorded), there may not be the opportunity for Alan Jackson to pull some stunt.
But we can always dream.
April 15, 2021 @ 11:01 am
Ha! He’s going to have a hard time living up to himself. I have faith though. I’ve always hated these “let’s get together and honor ourselves” shows, so it’s always fun to hear about some shit getting pulled.
April 15, 2021 @ 12:13 pm
He definitely has done some great songs, but to me he will always be the guy who thought “Chattahoochee” and “hoochy coochy” was a neat rhyme. I don’t know why that bugs me so much but I have hated that song since I was 12 or something. I’ve never not been a petty asshole I guess.
Mac Sledge's Revenge
April 15, 2021 @ 12:24 pm
But he also taught us with that song (video) that it was okay to water ski in jeans. Which was just as much of a revelation. And just as confusing. And just as cool.
April 15, 2021 @ 2:05 pm
Ehh, that song’s okay for what it is. It can still be a fun listen when I’m in the mood for it. My biggest beef with Chattahoochee is that was/is heavily overplayed and ended up overshadowing the stronger singles from that album (She’s Got The Rhythm, Tonight I Climbed The Wall, (Who Says) You Can’t Have It All).
April 15, 2021 @ 2:19 pm
Agreed. I got tired of Chattahoochee. Same with Drive eventually too.
April 15, 2021 @ 8:08 pm
You can’t blame a song for being overplayed.
I think Chattahoochie was justifiably the centerpiece and title song of that album.
strait county 81
April 15, 2021 @ 11:49 pm
At least you are self aware
April 15, 2021 @ 12:33 pm
I hope something magical happens. These shows have – as of late – been fast forwardable affairs.
April 15, 2021 @ 1:50 pm
When I was a kid, my whole family would watch the country awards shows from beginning to end, it was one of the few times I was allowed to stay up late to watch anything.
Now I don’t recall the last time I even watched a part of them.
I hope Mr. Jackson lays down some real country for the masses tho’.
April 15, 2021 @ 6:20 pm
I can tell you, you want me disappointed.
Sir Adam the Great
April 15, 2021 @ 3:01 pm
Uh huh huh huh…you said boners
April 15, 2021 @ 3:14 pm
That air-drumming stunt is always and forever epic. Same goes for “Choices.” Alan is not only a great singer and songwriter but a bandleader of the absolute first rank.
Alan Jackson and Mary Stuart. Guys like that you can follow into battle.
April 15, 2021 @ 4:13 pm
ACM awards: Behind the scenes
Alan: Nice to meet ya. So, which one of yous is Dan and which one is Shay?
Dan+Shay in unison: Yes
April 15, 2021 @ 9:22 pm
Alan (to himself) : Lord, give me strength
April 15, 2021 @ 4:17 pm
“Due to Covid protocols, you can’t storm off the stage, Mr. Jackson”
April 15, 2021 @ 6:27 pm
I can tell you, you want me disappointed.
April 15, 2021 @ 9:17 pm
I am just happy that alan jackson is back with new music
April 16, 2021 @ 6:10 am
still not watching. you need entertaining hosts for the show to be good. that is something they sorely missing.
April 16, 2021 @ 6:15 am
Growing up here in Newnan, Alan was good friends with my little brother and a frequent visitor at the house. He’s a shy guy in some ways but always had a mischievous side to him too. Appreciation of good country music runs in his family too. His nephew Adam Wright is a two time Grammy nominee. And Adam’s brother Brian who goes by Big City Brian Wright is a talented country singer in his own right.
April 16, 2021 @ 9:03 am
“Alan Jackson also performed the protest song “Murder on Music Row” on the 1999 CMA Awards, though that was a planned part of the presentation.”
It was actually the 2000 ACM Awards. Alan, George, and Lee Ann Womack opened the show with it. The ACM’s also had George Jones perform “Choices” after the CMAs wouldn’t offer him a full-length spot. George was also nominated for Album of the Year for “Cold Hard Truth” and Song of the Year for “Choices.” You could just tell George really loved the chance to be on the show. I think he even did a bit of “Pop A Top” jokingly before launching into “Choices.”
April 16, 2021 @ 11:12 am
I think you’re probably right. But anywhere Google points you will tell you the performance was on the 1999 CMA Awards. I just watched the video and there’s a CBS watermark on it, but at that time, CBS was broadcasting both the CMAs and ACMs, so that’s no help. Looking at pictures and such, it does appear it was the ACMs. Archive info on the ACMs is incredibly bad. But I’ll keep digging to confirm it.
April 16, 2021 @ 10:56 am
He may be country and seems like a nice guy but he was one of the most mediocre and bland country artists to come out of the 90s. Midnight in Montgomery is a good song though.
April 18, 2021 @ 7:55 pm
You must the deaf and dumb if you can’t appreciate Alan Jackson’s talents – both song writing and vocals!
One of the very best over the past 40 years!
April 17, 2021 @ 6:43 pm
Well I’ll record the show just to watch alan and maybe a couple other performances but that’s about it. Popular country radio is mostly posers. To me alan is probably the last great country artist to come out. Since then I guess you had garth and a few others but I’m not a fan of garth and some of the others were just ok.
April 18, 2021 @ 9:33 am
As much as I really like Alan Jackson, it’s not in me to sit through a mostly pop music award show wondering when I will see 3 or 4 minutes of country music. I’ll be watching the Stone Cold Steve Austin Biography on A&E instead.
July 18, 2021 @ 9:46 pm
Alan Jackson is the only singer/ songwriter that I listen to. His songwriting is so special and I love his soulful songs. I would love for him to invite Suzy Bogguss to sing on some of his tour dates. Chet Atkins called her the best country singer of all time with that beautiful, clear voice (not Whiney), like some of them or doesn’t have to display herself. Like Alan Jackson, her singing speaks for itself.I heard Some Day Soon on the radio the other day and it was so heartrendering. she and her grandmother used to work in their church when she was growing up with Dale Evans. She is still young and used to sing on George Jones’ concerts.