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
Angels and Alcohol
Alan Jackson, circa 2015, now might be, unfortunately, considered a retro artist. Jackson, thankfully, does not veer from his traditional country beat on his first new studio disc in three years. It's the traditional sound that makes him a throwback today.
In an age of rock and rap meshing with country, Jackson will have none of that on this meat-and-potatoes rendering. Jackson's viewpoint has always been about the simple truths of life. He makes that clear in the leadoff track, »»»
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 »»»
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: Queen Taylor wears her crown well
When Taylor Swift brought Natalie Maines of Dixie Chicks on stage to sing "Goodbye Earl," it meant more than just another star guest, on an already celebrity-packed, five-night attendance record-breaking Los Angeles concert run. This duet also brought into clear focus the truth that Swift's huge success unintentionally fulfilled the... »»»
Concert Review: Mandolin Orange commands the room
Mandolin Orange presents a simple picture: two members, sharing fiddle, mandolin and guitar and two powerful voices. As Mandolin Orange, Emily Franz and Andrew Marlin command the room.
The duo formed in Carrboro, N.C. a few years back, and have released an impressive series of CDs over the last few years, most recent "Such Jubilee" on Yep Roc Records.... »»»
Country News Digest
Elsewhere in the news
Currently at the CST blogs
In the spirit of hard-hitting journalism, it seemed logical to ask Deslondes vocalist/guitarist Riley Downing the Mike-Wallace-from-60-Minutes question that has to be on everyone's mind: How the hell do you say the New Orleans-based band's name? "It's pronounced 'dez lawn,'" says Downing. "I know there's different ways that people have pronounced it over the course of history...... »»»
From their first, self-titled, major label release, the Allison Krauss-produced, "Nickel Creek," two-thirds of that trio - musical siblings Sara and Sean Watkins - have been in the musical spotlight continually since 1999. As for working with her brother off and on for most of their lives, Sara says, "We have been lucky...... »»»
Joey Ryan, half of acoustic folk duo the Milk Carton Kids, is girding his loins for the long trip from the band's Los Angeles home base to Australia. Although he's made this trip before, he's yet to acclimate completely to it.... »»»
Maddie & Tea (aka Madison Marlow and Taylor Dye) start their biggest song "Girl in a Country Song" with a warning, "No country music was hurt in the making of this song." That warning also applies to the remaining 10 songs, which is about as country sounding as music seems to get these days for most artists. »»»
Sometimes it's all too evident. You hear an artist for the first time and you know he or she is destined to etch their imprint. That's the case with David Ramirez, whose new album "Fables" is one that plucks at the heartstrings and creates an impression that continues to reverberate long after the music finally fades away. »»»
Kip Moore's sophomore release has been a long time in coming - 3 1/2 years - a surprise considering how well he did with his debut, "Up All Night," and its big hits ("Somethin' 'Bout a Truck," "Beer Money"). Moore has said he spent time expanding his sound - and he surely has done that - although two failed singles doubtlessly didn't help. »»»
Common Law Wife
Slipping into the spot vacated by Nanci Griffith, South Carolinian Angela Easterling provides her perspective on modern country music, motherhood, the state of her nation, lost love, hometown shut downs and matrimony. »»»
Kill the Lights
When Luke Bryan announces, "I've got that music for your ear" during the single "Kick the Dust Up," listeners should know right off this is not a collection of sounds for every ear. It's targeted toward the young and reckless set instead, where consequences don't seem to matter. There's no better example of this loose approach than the revenge sex expressed through a duet with Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild on "Home Alone Tonight,"... »»»
The big single from Michael Ray's self-titled album, "Kiss You in the Morning," is one of the most annoying songs of the summer. It's an unbridled lust lyric that describes one man's pursuit of a girl in a country song. Ray is better on the driving song, "Drivin' All Night," though. Maybe it's the fact that Ray name-drops both Steve Earle and Tom Petty on it. »»»