To say that Alan Jackson has had a busy 24 hours doesn’t begin to tell the half of it. The 55-year-old entertainer who recently came back to his roots by releasing a critically-acclaimed bluegrass album started his Wednesday night off at the Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville to witness Lee Ann Womack and Kacey Musgraves perform his song “Livin’ On Love”, and to receive the CMT’s first ever Impact Award. “That song never sounded better,” said Alan about the Womack / Musgraves performance.
Meanwhile secretly across the street at the lower Broadway venue The Stage, they were setting up for an Alan Jackson secret show that would transpire just after the CMT Awards concluded. Reports of someone big loading into the spot had been swirling around Nashville all day, which is in the midst of its annual CMA Fan Fest festivities. Alan turned out to be the surprise entertainer, and played an extended set to a packed house of lucky Fan Fest revelers and VIP’s.
Then lo and behold, Jackson was up bright and early this morning conducting a press conference at the Country Music Hall of Fame. When the presser was first announced last week, it had people speculating about what Jackson could be announcing, concerned that the last time a big country star called a press conference at the Hall of Fame, it was for George Strait’s announcement that he was retiring from touring. But Jackson’s announcement was to the contrary, telling the assembled press corps that he will be embarking on a 25-date, 25th Anniversary Tour marking a quarter century in the country music business. “A lot of people wanted to know if this was a retirement announcement,” Jackson told the curious crowd. “I don’t work that much now. I don’t know what I would retire from.”
And that’s just where the big news begins for Alan Jackson. Also announced, the Country Music Hall of Fame will be putting together an Alan Jackson exhibit commemorating his 25 year career that will open on August 29th at the newly-expanded Hall. He has also been named The Hall’s latest “Artist in Residence” and will be playing a series of shows at the museum between October 8th thru the 22nd.
“It’s hard for anybody to really understand where I came from, to have all this happen and to get where I am today is truly the American dream,” Jackson said. “People don’t realize how we had nothing and I didn’t know anything about music. Somebody said ”¦ ‘You sound as good as some of those guys on the radio, you should move to Nashville.’ I said, ‘OK.’ That’s basically what happened. And we came up here and this happened. It’s just a miracle. I still just can’t believe all this is going on.”
As the 25 year mark of his upcoming anniversary tour denotes, Alan Jackson is one of the artists poised to take advantage of the potential move by the country music industry to better highlight Jackson and other artists like him who have recently been forgotten by radio. The potential launching a new “classic” country format has the radio world buzzing, and might give artists like Jackson the ability to once again be heard prominently on the radio. He also has a song in the upcoming Seth McFarlane movie A Million Ways to Die in the West, and is rumored to be a target of Scott Borchetta for the upcoming NASH Icons venture. Alan Jackson is a hot commodity to say the least.
No dates or locations for the 25th Anniversary Tour have been announced yet, but with all the renewed interest in country music’s Class of ’89 and Alan Jackson specifically, it promises to be a big one.
Out to pasture? Not Alan.
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Hall of Fame Press Conference: