Country Music Hall of Famer Alan Jackson stole the attention of country music this week when he announced he’s got a big new 21-song album on the way come May 14th called Where Have You Gone, and immediately released three brand new tracks from the record to boot.
With Alan Jackson behind it, you know the album’s going to be country. For over 30 years, Jackson has been like a bulwark against the incursion of pop and hip-hop influences into the genre, and even though he may not enjoy the radio play and big awards anymore like he once did, he’s still doing what he can from his perch as a country music elder statesman to keep the genre on track.
“It’s a little harder country than even I’ve done in the past,” Jackson assures about the new record. “And it’s funny, I was driving and listening to the final mixes Keith [Stegall] sent me, and I started to tear up. I was surprised to get so overly emotional, but I just love this kind of music.”
Longtime Alan Jackson collaborator Keith Stegall is once again on board as producer of the new album that features fifteen songs solely written by Jackson in the 21 song set, speaking to Alan’s prolific career as a songwriter that is commonly overlooked, and uncommon from such a big country music entertainer in the modern era.
“This kind of music on ‘Where Have You Gone’ runs the gamut of what embodies true country music,” Alan Jackson says. “When I write, I visualize back home and growing up.”
Jackson certainly takes a nostalgic and lamenting tone on the title track of the album.
“Soft steel guitar oh how I’ve missed you
Words from the heart let me hear you again
Sounds from the soul, fiddle I need you
Sweet country music where have you gone?
Sweet country music please come back home…”
The cover art of Alan Jackson walking towards the Nashville skyline on the John Seigenthaler Bridge, and carrying his guitar like a cudgel brings to mind a soldier walking into battle.
“Real country songs are life and love and heartache, drinking and Mama and having a good time… but it’s the sounds of the instruments, too,” Jackson says. “The steel and acoustic guitar, the fiddle – those things have a sound and a tone… and getting that right, the way those things make you feel, that’s country, too.”
Alan Jackson’s Where Have You Gone is now available for pre-order.
All songs written by Alan Jackson except where noted.
1. Where Have You Gone
2. Wishful Drinkin’
3. I Can Be Something
4. Where The Cottonwood Grows
5. Way Down In My Whiskey
6. Things That Matter (Michael White & Robert Keith Stegall)
7. Livin’ On Empty
8. You’ll Always Be My Baby
9. Where Her Heart Has Always Been
10. The Boot (Adam Wright)
12. Write It In Red
13. So Late So Soon (Scotty Emerick, Daniel Tashian & Sarah Buxton)
14. This Heart Of Mine ( Adam Wright)
15. A Man Who Never Cries
17. I Was Tequila
18. I Do
19. That’s The Way Love Goes (Whitey Shafer & Lefty Frizzell)
20. Beer: 10
21. The Older I Get (Adam Wright, Hailey Whitters & Sarah Turner)