Alan Jackson is releasing his first new album in 6 years on May 14th called Where Have You Gone. The album features all new songs, including some he’s written for his daughters’ and their weddings. He stopped by The Bobby Bones Show virtually to share some stories behind the songs, talk about how he got his start in Nashville, and share who gifted him his first guitar.
To most country music fans, Jackson is considered a legend. He’s been in Nashville for decades and always anted to be, but how he got his start is a little different. Jackson worked for a television network that aired a popular country television show. He worked in the mailroom, but most of his coworkers knew he wanted to pursue a career in music. So when the show was taping and they needed a person to sing a song going into commercial, they called on Jackson. He jumped up there and sang a George Jones song. That was the first time Jackson had done anything in front of the camera. While the moment propelled him into a different position in Nashville, Jackson always knew he wanted to be a country artist. He once even sang a cover of “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” during one of his high school’s musicals. His parents were the ones to gift him his first guitar for his 16th birthday.
Now Jackson has 35 number 1s and has to choose which hits he will and won’t play while out on tour. He added that he tries to perform the songs that the majority of people are impacted by or enjoy the most. Jackson wasn’t a songwriter until he moved to Nashville. The songs he started writing in his first few months all ended up on his first few projects. During his first month in Nashville, he wrote a song called “Home” for his mom on Mother’s Day. The song didn’t go on to be one of his hit songs until years later. Jackson added that that’s why you never know what can come from songwriting. “Chattahoochee” was one of Jackson’s songs that he was surprised when it did so well. When he and songwriter Jim McBride wrote it, they were writing about a river Jackson grew up on. Jackson admitted he didn’t think anyone would know what he was singing about, but later realized that everyone had their own “Chattahoochee” so they were able to relate to the song regardless of the title. Another song with an interesting back story was his hit “Where I Come From.” He often uses his wife Denise to bounce songs off of, and when he shared that song with her, she thought it was stupid. His emotional song “Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)” was one of the fastest songs that ever came to Jackson. It was written after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and actually came to him in the middle of the night. He shared that it all came out of nowhere, he got up in the middle of the night and wrote the chorus down. Then the next morning, he wrote down the rest of the lyrics all inspired by things he had experienced over those several days during and after the attacks.
As for songs on his new album, “You’ll Always Be My Baby” and “I Do” were both written for his daughters. His oldest daughter got married a few years ago and asked that he write a song for their father-daughter dance. So he wrote these two songs and told all of his daughters that they’re both for them all to use at their weddings if they wish. So far he’s used the songs twice. Jackson hasn’t performed at many weddings, he did a few early on in his career for his wife’s friends. But besides that, he’s only sang at his own wedding. He shared that when him and Denise got married they shared their vows, and then before the ring exchange he sang to her. He performed a song by a Christian artist named Pat Terry. Although he was nervous and a bit scared, he admitted that he got through it pretty good.