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
Genuine: The Alan Jackson Story
Howdy Skies Records
Reviewed by Donald Teplyske
It is difficult to tally exactly how many albums of new material Tim O'Brien has released since first appearing as part of Hot Rize, the venerable bluegrass band experiencing a well-received resurgence. More than 20 by any count, 30-plus when one considers solo, duet and group offerings, including his most recent success as part of the Earls of Leicester.
Aside from a brief flirtation with the »»»
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. »»»
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: AmericanaFest stays ahead of the curve
If the Americana Festival and Conference proves anything, it's that anything and everything born of genuine roots can be classified as Americana. It doesn't matter whether it originates from the heartland, the swamps of the south, the outer reaches of California, the mountains of Appalachia, or as far afield as the Australian outback and the... »»»
Concert Review: Sun shines on Miami Valley 'grass fest
The third annual Miami Valley Bluegrass Heritage Festival was unlike either of the previous two. For two years, Mother Nature picked the same Saturday in September to unleash wind and rain on the bluegrassers gathered, but this year, she was in a pleasant mood. Sunny skies and a light breeze were welcomed proving that the third time is the charm.... »»»
Country News Digest
Elsewhere in the news
Currently at the CST blogs
William Shakespeare noted a few centuries back that a rose by any other
name would be equally aromatic, and that general idea has musical
implications as well. The Cadillac Three knows a thing or two about maintaining
a sonic identity after a name change;... »»»
Those aware of the late Owsley "Bear" Stanley likely know him for one of two reasons - his pioneering work manufacturing lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in San Francisco during the mid-to-late 1960s and his role as an innovative sound engineer. Most notably, Bear worked...... »»»
Headed into 2015, Imelda May was on a hit streak. Her rockabilly career was in full swing, nurtured by the likes of former Squeeze keyboardist Jools Holland and guitar icon Jeff Beck. Her albums routinely topped the charts in her native Ireland.... »»»
Larry Campbell and Teresa Campbell could have been content to retain their status as musicians on call, given the fact that they've loaned their services to any number of high profile employers -- Bob Dylan, Rosanne Cash, Mavis Staples, Levon Helm, Little Feat, Shawn Colvin and Phil Lesh among them. »»»
The Grascals woke up early, well "Before Breakfast" to serve up a generous 12-course meal of hearty bluegrass with a little bit of gospel mixed in for spice. The result is tasty, another recipe that shows why the band has been nominated for multiple Grammy awards. »»»
Right off the bat, the title of Old Dominion's album "Happy Endings" is far better than "Meat and Candy," its prior effort. ("Meat" in an album title? Really?) But also on an artistic level, OD's follow-up shows signs of growth. With that said, though, there's nothing on this new release as immediately catchy as "Snapback." »»»
The Cadillac Three's bio is stacked with amazing bullet points that
partially explains their mutant rockabilly-heavy-on-the-rock cocktail. The
born-and-raised Nashville trio - drummer/vocalist Neil Mason,
bassist/dobroist/vocalist Kelby... »»»
Until My Voice Goes Out
Josh Abbott Band opens its album "Until My Voice Goes Out" with the title track, which features the unique combination of stately strings along with plucked banjo. In one respect, it's a love song about the desire for a specific woman. »»»
Four albums on, Ron Pope seems well positioned to garner the commercial acclaim that's somehow eluded him up until now. Although critics have begun taking notice, Pope's still in search of that big breakout that's decidedly his due. Given the upbeat entries that initially establish this latest outing, the definitively titled "Work," Pope appears to have taken a decided stance that leans towards those very ends. »»»