Jackson's gone bluegrass
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
– He's gone bluegrass. That's the news from traditional country singer Alan Jackson, who once eschewed those who tried to cash in on country music.
"The Bluegrass Album" will be released Sept. 24 on Jackson's ACR label, distributed by EMI Records Nashville. Eight of the tracks are Jackson originals, along with covers of The Dillards' There Is A Time, John Anderson's Wild And Blue and a slow, 3/4 time version of Blue Moon Of Kentucky.
When he brought Alison Krauss in to produce his 2006 project, "Like Red On A Rose," some thought Jackson might veer towards bluegrass, but the disc stayed in the country realm.
This year, though, Jackson assembled an all-star cast of bluegrass pickers and singers in April, and tracked a new all-acoustic record at The Castle outside of Nashville. Sammy Shelor on banjo, Adam Steffey on mandolin, Tim Crouch on fiddle, Tim Dishman on bass, Rob Ickes on reso-guitar, and Scott Coney on guitar all participated. Ronnie Bowman and Don Rigsby were on hand to provide harmony vocals, with Keith Stegall and Adam Wright (he is Jackson's nephew and one-half of The Wrights with his wife, Shannon) producing.
Shelor said that they tracked all the rhythms and most of the vocals in five sessions over two days. The band sat in a circle with half dividers between them so that everyone could see each other, with Jackson and the backup singers tracking live with the band. "The most we did on any song was three takes; we got most of them the first time. We worked from charts, but Alan knew what he wanted on every song before we started," said Shelor in a story posted on Jackson's web site.
Coney also plays guitar, fiddle and banjo in Jackson's country band.
Jackson told Coney to put a band together for this record, but that he didn't want it to 'sound like all the other bluegrass albums country artists cut in this town.'"
"Alan's voice lends itself perfectly to bluegrass, in my opinion. If you like Ronnie Bowman or Marty Raybon singing bluegrass, you'll love Alan Jackson doing it," Shelor said.
"I'm extremely blessed and happy to be a part of this project. It's a great bluegrass record, and its Alan Jackson singing. What more could you ask?"
Current plans suggest that Jackson will do some television and selected live shows to promote "The Bluegrass Album" around the release date, with a likelihood of further touring to follow. They hope to hit a number of major bluegrass festivals next year as well, using the same musicians who appear on the album.
Songs on the disc are:
1.) Long Hard Road - Alan Jackson
2.) Mary - Jackson
3.) Appalachian Mountain Girl - Jackson
4.) Tie Me Down - Alan Jackson
5.) Way Beyond The Blue - Mark D. Sanders/Randy Albright/Lisa Silver
6.) Ain't Got Trouble Now - Adam Wright
7.) Blue Ridge Mountain Song - Alan Jackson
8.) Blacktop - Alan Jackson
9.) Blue Side of Heaven - Alan Jackson
10.) There Is A Time - Rodney Dillard/Mitch Jayne
11.) Wild and Blue - John Scott Sherrill
12.) Knew All Along - Adam Wright/Shannon Wright
13.) Let's Get Back to Me and You - Alan Jackson
14.) Blue Moon of Kentucky - Bill Monroe
More news for Alan Jackson
CD reviews for Alan Jackson
The Bluegrass Album
Alan Jackson makes his statement crystal clear with the title - "The Bluegrass Album." The traditional country singer has "gone bluegrass," although the idea of a bluegrass disc should not come off as all that far fetched. Yes, there's no pedal steel here, but the sounds, subject and voice are not very different from a typical AJ disc.
And this is not the first time that Jackson has veered off the straight and narrow path as his gospel albums indicated. »»»
Precious Memories Vol. II
There's nothing more pathetic than watching a country performer sweat bullets on television while performing a gospel song, seemingly to try and prove - with all this overt effort - they truly believe what they're singing about. You won't get that impression from Alan Jackson, at least not from his second collection of hymns, "Precious Memories: Vol. II." Even during There Is Power in the Blood, a song that could easily have gotten revved up beyond control, the guitar and »»»
34 Number Ones
34 Number Ones
Alan Jackson has rightfully enjoyed a tremendous amount of artistic and commercial success during his 14-CD career spanning 20 years. None of his albums debuted lower than number four. He captures a segment of country music that, unfortunately, has few imitators. The Georgian is well-steeped, of course, in traditional country music following in the footsteps of folks like George Jones. He also tends to focus on the small town way of life, a humble working »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk
When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: For The Lone Bellow, familiarity breeds even more success
Familiarity didn't seem to breed any contempt for The Lone Bellow. In fact, just the opposite for the New York trio, making its fourth appearance in the area since February.
That has only served to increase the fan base of the rootsy, sometimes country, more often soulful group, as they headlined a sold-out crowd of about 930 at the venerable rock club.... »»»
Concert Review: Foster, Smith finally join forces, fortunately
Years in the talking, long-time friends Radney Foster and Darden Smith finally hit the road together. While the current tour - all one week of it - is on the short side time-wise, the music had not only length, but a lot of depth.
Foster, who has enjoyed a successful recording and perhaps more importantly songwriting career in the country realm, and... »»»
Country News Digest
Elsewhere in the news
Currently at the CST blogs
Mandy Barnett has been singing big since she was five years old, gracing county fairs, political rallies and church services with her riveting voice. At 18, she captured audiences' hearts at the Ryman Auditorium with her portrayal of Patsy Cline in "Always...Patsy Cline," channeling Cline's spacious alto. On her new album, "I Can't Stop Loving You: The Songs of Don Gibson," chanteuse Barnett pays loving tribute to Gibson with captivating interpretations of his songs.
Lindi Ortega has come a long way from her urban home of Toronto to her current digs in Nashville. Her songs about murder, love and the things that connect the two are reminiscent of country artists like Johnny Cash. Far from an overnight sensation, Lindi Ortega independently released her first album "The Taste of Forbidden Fruit" back in 2001. She followed this up with a second full length and a couple of EPs over the seven years, including one for Interscope Records.... »»»
A few months shy of his 75th birthday, Del McCoury is at an age when many of his bluegrass contemporaries and peers are scaling back their recording and touring activities or even hanging it up altogether. No rocking chair for McCoury, though, as he remains one of the most active and energetic performers in American music. The latest Del McCoury Band release, "The Streets of Baltimore" dropped in September on his McCoury Music label.... »»»
Days of Gold
Jake Owen aims to satisfy all comers (that is, if the current country is your thing), but the individual pieces don't quite add up. The songs may stand up on their own well enough, but when all is said and done, Owen remains an artist without much of an identity or sound. Take, for example, Beachin',
one of countless country songs about the good life. Like many of his counterparts these days, there's a spoken, neo hip hop rap part to it. »»»
Talk about strange bedfellows. Who would have thunk that Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day and singer Norah Jones, who has veered in a more rootsy direction in recent years, would ever have put out a disc, let alone one so refreshing as this tribute to the Everly Brothers? The title is a bit of conundrum. Is the disc meant as a present of sorts to the Everlys, their fans and their musical style? »»»
Danielle Bradbery has a leg up on the competition because she won season four of The Voice at the tender age of 17. She also has producer Dann Huff in her corner on her debut release. And that means - no surprise whatsoever - that Bradbery opts very decidedly for a pop, highly commercial sheen on her brand of what passes for country these days. »»»
The Woman I Am
High quality music found on Kellie Pickler's "The Woman I Am" evidences how the country singer's last album, "100 Proof," was no fluke. The title track, which Pickler co-wrote with husband Kyle Jacobs, explains how this woman will always have a whole lot of traditional country in her blood. "Sometimes I cry at night/Fall to pieces with Patsy Cline." »»»
It Goes Like This
Thomas Rhett has enjoyed a strong pedigree as a hit songwriter at the tender age of 23. After all, he has helped pen Jason Aldean's 1994,
Parking Lot Party by Lee Brice and Round Here
by Florida Georgia Line. Not to mention having a father, Rhett Atkins, who has enjoyed both a career as a recording artist and a hit songwriter himself. So, it should come as no surprise that Rhett shares a lot of the same clichés as those he has written hits for. »»»
Drinks After Work
If 52-year old Toby Keith has learned anything after 20 years, it is to stick with a winning formula. Working with longtime collaborators Scotty Emerick, Bobby Pinson and Rivers Rutherford, "Drinks After Work" is chock full of blue collar ethic, humor and some heartbreak. »»»