Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Country Music Spotlight: Alan Jackson

Every other Wednesday, I analyze a Country Music singers career, high points, low points and what may be in store for them in the future. 

The smooth vocals of Alan Jackson are as easy to adore as any in the field of Country Music. It's simply superb how well this guy can transition from a smooth party tune (Good Time) to a retrospective on fathers (Drive (For Daddy Gene)). I mean, really, Jacksons ability to convey a wide gamut of emotions through different songs is nothing short of outstanding. So why has he fallen out of style in recent years?

Amazingly, it's been five years since the last time a tune from Jackson hit the Top 10 on any Country Music chart, a feat that would have been inconceivable even 10 years ago is now normalcy. Oh sure, he's not hurting for money. After all, he's doing the major song for the movie A Million Ways To Die In The West, appropriately called A Million Ways To Die. I doubt it'll reach the heights of his previous highs of his career, but it is nice to see him getting a major job like that (and, man, is it weird to hear him say some harsh swear words in that song)

It is heartbreaking to see the landscape of Country Music completely devoid of Alan Jackson, considering how large of a presence he's relentlessly had on the artform. Oh sure, there've been times where singles might not do as well as he would have liked, but those were few and far in between and besides, none of them truly bombed. Yes sir, if anyone was good for a high quality tune you'd find yourself humming for weeks on end, it was Jackson. While not even today that old, the age when he debuted his No. 1 single (33) makes him a geezer among the likes of Dan+Shay and Hunter Hayes.

That age really played well into his music, as it allowed him to be just young enough to sing about not rocking the jukebox, but also gave him the ability to really speak about larger themes. When he was 43, he delivered perhaps his best song of all-time, Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning), a song that talks about the average American's reaction to the horrific tragedy of 9/11. Jackson captures the chaotic fear that ran through people that day, while also reminding us of the importance of the loved ones still with us.

For my money though, no Alan Jackson song can quite conjure up the same majesty and gravitas that is brought out in Remember When. This is a song that is all but guaranteed to stir up emotions and memories in any listener, with Jacksons knowledgeable voice bringing the lyrics powerful life. Amazingly, the same year he debuted this beautiful song (2005), he also managed to make a song that was equally powerful, but in a more fun way. His epic duet with Jimmy Buffet, It's Five O' Clock Somewhere, holds a special place in my heart mainly due to me and my brother constantly singing it at a young age, unaware of it's alcoholic meanings. Ah, the innocent of youth.

Hopefully Alan Jackson returns to radiowaves soon with a song that reminds us all of his greatness. After all, the man has untold talent in making songs not just music but an experience in and of itself. He's quite gifted and hopefully we'll hear more from him soon.

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