Not that anyone could ever criticize Alan Jackson for slacking on the job, and even if he never sings another note in the studio henceforth his contributions to the country music canon could stand up to just about anyone’s. But it feels like we are well past due for new music from the Country Music Hall of Famer, and it’s starting to become curious why we haven’t heard about anything new coming down the pike.
We’re currently in the longest gulf between studio releases from Alan Jackson in his 30+ year career. Since releasing his first major record via Arista Nashville in 1990, there’s never been more than a two year gap in between studio albums from Alan. But his last album Angels & Alcohol was released four years ago this July, and there’s no credible hints or allegation of anything new on the way in the near future.
Making the situation a bit more strange is the fact that Alan Jackson released a new single from his yet-to-be-announced upcoming record a year-and-a-half ago called “The Older I Get.” Written by Adam Wright, Hailey Whitters and Sarah Turner, the song was released three days after Jackson’s 59th birthday, and coincided with his official induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in October of 2017. A video for the song was released a month later, and though it was never promoted as an official single to radio, “The Older I Get” was presented as the first song from a new record “coming soon,” with some rumors pegging the release for the summer of 2018.
There are a couple of probable and practical explanations of why we might be experiencing a delay in new Alan Jackson music. There’s been some drama in the last year in his personal life that potentially could have contributed to the delay, including canceling numerous tour dates due to an illness, and the death of his son-in-law Ben Selecman at the age of 28 during a boating accident in September of 2018.
But it’s also not uncommon for labels to give unnecessary delays to the release of new music, especially from older artists. Jackson is currently singed to EMI Nashville in partnership with his own company, ACR Records. One factor making this delay feel so pronounced is the fact that Alan Jackson’s contemporaries such as George Strait, Brooks & Dunn, and Reba McEntire are out there making big splashes with new records. New music from Alan Jackson could really help keep the momentum going of this traditional country resurgence we’re currently experiencing, and like we’ve seen with George Strait’s current single “Every Little Honky Tonk Bar,” there may even be some space on radio for someone like Jackson if the label plays its cards right.
Alan Jackson is currently on a tour throughout 2019, and has been seeding his opening slots with cool up-and-coming artists from the Lower Broadway honky tonk scene in Nashville. The dates are pretty well spaced out though, so this wouldn’t preclude Alan from recording new music, if he didn’t have new music already in the can, and is just waiting for a release date from. Either way, hopefully we hear something soon.