Well, Monday it is. But, today’s #MondayHero will make it feel less like a December Monday and and more like a Saturday in July. The lightheartedness and levity of his voice deliver a “summer in the winter” type of vibe; however, with all of his Christmas covers and slow-moving ballads he undoubtedly sounds great at any time of the year, and in any setting. So without further ado, Rhythm & Boots’ feature of the week is one of the kings of country, Mr. Alan Jackson.
With thirty-five number one country hits, two Grammy Awards, and over 80 million records sold, the 59-year-old Jackson has been one of the biggest names in the country music scene since the early ‘90s, and his presence in the industry has never wavered. To this date he has released over twenty studio albums, including a few Christmas and gospel albums, and he has also written numerous hit tracks for other artists, including ‘90s country powerhouse, Randy Travis.
As a kid growing up in Newnan, Georgia, Alan was never the biggest music fan, but was eventually influenced to start a band after hearing the music of Hank Williams Jr. and other country artists of the 1970s and ‘80s. After finally moving to Nashville with his wife in his late twenties, he befriended country legend Glen Campbell, released his first few records, and saw almost immediate success. He admits that while he originally thought he’d be lucky to have a career of maybe five good years, he couldn’t be more grateful of the success that his music has had more than 25 years later.
Since releasing his first single “Blue Blooded Woman” in 1989, Jackson has not only released dozens of successful records but has also done very well both as a nationwide touring act and as a branding endorsement figure. In addition to headlining numerous record-promoting tours since becoming a country music icon in the early ‘90s, he has had sponsorship deals with the likes of Cracker Barrel restaurants, Ford trucks, NAPA Auto Parts, Miller Lite beer, and Fruit of the Loom underwear.
Jackson’s country music career spanning almost three decades is as multifaceted as it is impressive. Aside from being a modern king of country music who specializes in everything from quick honky-tonk grooves to slow ballads and political anthems, Jackson has a definitive impact on numerous other aspects of pop culture. It’s safe to say that in 2017, Alan Jackson is not just a successful country artist, but a global country phenomenon.
Need an easy way to listen to Alan Jackson? Click here to access your personalized AJ playlist on Spotify, brought to you by Rhythm & Boots.
In the meantime, let’s dive into four of Alan’s must-know tunes:
- “Drive (For Daddy Gene)” (2002) – Without a doubt my favorite Alan Jackson song, this track is the perfect framework for nostalgia, the classic AJ sound, and good ol’ fashioned fun. Written by Alan in honor of his late father Eugene Jackson, the song takes the listener through relatable memories from Alan’s childhood directly from his point of view. While listening, it’s impossible not to think of those unique and cherished times that everybody shares with their parents and loved ones growing up, and learning to drive a car (or a boat for that matter!) is one of the most defining moments of young adulthood. In terms of lyrical content and musical expression, this is one of the most genuinely AJ songs out there.
- “Don’t Rock The Jukebox” (1991) – One of Jackson’s oldest hits, this song portrays another side of his musical versatility — honky-tonk country-western mixed with Elvis Presley rock’n’roll. While paying homage to his friend George Jones, he whispers and wails his way through the song and keeps time perfectly with the rhythm section. Grab a hat, some Wranglers, and a pair of boots and hit the dance floor running.
- “Where Were You (When the World Stopping Turning)” (2001) – Immediately following the tragedy on Sept. 11, 2001, America was in a state of anguish and confusion. Singers and songwriters from all genres of music utilized songwriting as a method of both coping and comprehension, and Jackson’s reactionary tune was the defining country music response to the tragedy. Its poignant and visceral nature highlights Alan’s vocals as the main element of the song, and the lyrics are able to pull any person right back into that grieving moment in American history. This song is an absolute must-listen in the Jackson library, and when you do, definitely bring some tissues.
- “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere (feat. Jimmy Buffett)” (2003) – The ultimate beach party anthem (featuring the necessary steel drums), this song delivers the legendary Jimmy Buffett on the last verse and chorus, and sprung up to #1 on the country charts and peaked at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 in its day. Billboard ranked it as the #3 country song of the 2000s, and it even won a CMA Award for Vocal Event of the Year. Being that today’s Monday, this should probably be the first middle and last Alan Jackson song you listen to today, and then make your lunch break last all afternoon because hey, it’s five o’clock somewhere!
Curious to see what Alan is up to? Check out his website here and social media below!
Also, watch this poignant, must-see video of Alan singing his good friend George Jones’ most popular song “He Stopped Loving Her Today” back in 2013 at George’s funeral hosted by The Grand Ole Opry.