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Alan Jackson helps the world turn

Country Standard Time Editorial, March 2002

A number of songs were written, recorded and/or released in the wake of the terrorist attack in September. But probably none of them cuts to the emotional core as much as Alan Jackson’s “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning).”

Aaron Tippin, Charlie Daniels and Neil Young may have vented their emotions in their respective songs, “Where The Stars And Stripes And The Eagle Fly,” “This Ain't No Rag, It's A Flag" and “Let’s Roll,” but Jackson takes a closer look at life in the wake of the attack.

Jackson has been severely underrated as a social commentator, certainly the finest that the country genre has to offer today by a long stretch. He has consistently sung out in favor of “the Little Man” trying to survive during a time of corporate giants taking over the main streets and promoting the simple life as some of us used to know it.

In his latest hit - reprised twice on his new “Drive” in both a studio cut and his version from the 2001 Country Music Association awards show - Jackson asks the simple question of where the listener was - whether some actor in Hollywood or Joe Average at home with his wife and kids.

What Jackson is saying in the song is that no matter who you are, no matter what your station in life, we were all affected by the events of September.

But instead of taking the easy way out by going on the offensive, Jackson goes for the emotional core of loss, pain and the need to look elsewhere - like the Almighty and oneself for answers.

Ultimately, Jackson focuses in on the core values of faith, love and doing good deeds. Simple sentiments to be sure, although not foreign for Jackson either.

It may be a new year, but the emotional travail continues. An inward look as offered by Jackson may help ease the pain.