ALAN JACKSON – THE BLUEGRASS ALBUM

They say that timing’s everything in bluegrass music. If that’s so, Alan Jackson’s is just right. “I probably started thinking about the bluegrass album sometime in the mid-‘90s,” the iconic country singer and songwriter explains. “But O Brother, Where Art Thou? came along, a couple of other country artists were doing some bluegrass stuff, and I didn’t want to seem like I was jumping on the bandwagon. Then, when Alison Krauss and I started working together, we ended up going in a different direction—it was a very cool album, and I’m proud of it. I think things happen when they’re supposed to, though, and when I finally got to it this winter, it just seemed like the right time in my life, in my head—in everything.”

You won’t hear any argument about that from those who have already heard The Bluegrass Album (ACR/EMI Nashville), which hits streets on September 24th. While Jackson disclaims any experience as a bluegrass musician, he’s been listening to it his whole life—beginning with the first time he saw The Dillards’ on The Andy Griffith Show and Flatt & Scruggs on The Beverly Hillbillies...through Saturday nights spent at the side of Daddy Gene, watching pickers on Hee Haw...to a well-worn vinyl album recorded in the late-’70s by a local group called the Bullsboro Bluegrass Band from Jackson’s hometown of Newnan, Georgia. And these days, he says, bluegrass has become preferred listening. “As country music’s gotten away from its rootsy sound in the last few years, I find myself listening to more bluegrass. It’s some of the last real music that’s out there. And I know that there’s more contemporary style bluegrass that people are playing—it even has drums on it and so forth—but I like the more traditional style myself.”

Jackson knew that, while he’d be writing most of the The Bluegrass Album’s songs himself—“Some of the chord progressions and melodies had a little more of what I feel is authentic bluegrass than what I typically write,” he says, “but it’s not that different from what I normally do”—he’d need some help in turning the idea of a bluegrass album into reality. Fortunately, he had no farther to look than his own band and guitarist Scott Coney. “He can play about anything, but he’s really a bluegrass nut before he’s a country picker,” Jackson says with a smile. “So I asked him about it, and I have to give him the credit for lining these guys up—they’re all very talented and award-winning bluegrass players and singers in their own world. I could tell, just meeting them in the studio, they really love the music. And I think it shows in the sound there. They really care about it.”

Together with Adam Wright, who shares production credits with long-time Jackson producer Keith Stegall, Coney assembled a group of musicians ideally suited for the project. Long years of familiarity with one another—banjo man Sammy Shelor (recipient of the second Steve Martin Award for Excellence in Bluegrass and Banjo) and singers Ronnie Bowman (winner of multiple International Bluegrass Music Association Male Vocalist of the Year awards) and Don Rigsby, for instance, all spent years working together in one of the most acclaimed and influential bands of the past several decades, the Lonesome River Band—made it easy for them to come together in the studio for a natural, organic recording process that involved everyone playing and singing together in a circle, rather than building tracks one instrument and one voice at a time in isolation booths. Dobro player Rob Ickes and mandolinist Adam Steffey, too, have multiple IBMA awards for their instrumental work. Tim Crouch (fiddle) and Tim Dishman (bass)—both players whom Coney had become familiar with years ago in the Arkansas-Missouri bluegrass scene—are well- respected by bluegrass aficionados across the country. No wonder Jackson gives a shout-out to each and every one in the closing “Blue Moon Of Kentucky,” or that he hints at touring with them in support of the release—they’re that good.

The result is a collection that flows as easily as a mountain stream, from peppy up- tempo numbers with plenty of hot picking to more contemplative songs that reveal Jackson’s affinity for not just the most obvious elements of the bluegrass sound, but its more subtle aspects, too. And like the classics that make up the bluegrass canon, Jackson’s songs encompass bedrock themes of country life—broken hearts and faithful love, hard work and hard times, mountain living, restless souls and the promise of reunion beyond the grave. A listener not deeply familiar with that canon would be hard put to tell Jackson’s eight originals from the smaller number of classics and “outside” songs scattered through the project, whether The Dillards’ memorable “There Is A Time,” Adam Wright’s old-timey “Ain’t Got Trouble Now” or Monroe’s signature “Blue Moon Of Kentucky.” Indeed, Jackson reflects Monroe’s original 1946 arrangement by keeping the song in waltz time throughout.

Jackson wasn’t afraid to include a bit of artful yet sincere, been-there-done-that commentary that links the rural life embodied in bluegrass to trends in today’s country music and reminds us just how deep his real country roots run. “I guess a lot of young people write about being on a dirt road and all,” he observes about the album’s “Blacktop.” “I grew up on a dirt road, with a dirt driveway, so I just thought I’d reflect on some of my thoughts about living on one. When you go through all the mud and the dirt and the dust and the rocks and all that goes with it...let me tell you, we were glad to see that asphalt put on there.”

In the end, Jackson says he wanted to make an album that didn’t disappoint the bluegrass world. “I didn’t want them to think I was just another country act wanting to make a bluegrass album. I wanted it to be as true as I knew how to make it—to be something I could be proud of.” And where the rubber meets the road—with the soulful, genuine, dyed-in-the-wool music of The Bluegrass Album—he’s done exactly that.

1986

Signs as a songwriter with Glen Campbell’s publishing company

1989

Signs as Arista/Nashville’s first country artist

1990

Here In The Real World issued as debut album

  • ACM Top New Male Vocalist award
  • TNN/Music City News Song of the Year “Here In The Real World”
1991

Becomes member of Grand Ole Opry (inducted by Roy Acuff and Randy Travis)

  • Don’t Rock The Jukebox issued as second album
  • ACM Single & Album of the Year “Don’t Rock The Jukebox”
  • NSAI Songwriter/Artist of the Year
  • TNN/Music City News Star of Tomorrow
  • TNN/Music City News Album of the Year – Here In The Real World
1992

CMA Video of the Year – “Midnight In Montgomery”

  • ASCAP Country Song of the Year – “Don’t Rock The Jukebox”
  • TNN/Music City News Male Artist of the Year
  • TNN/Music City News Album & Single – “Don’t Rock The Jukebox”
  • A Lot About Livin’ (And A Little ‘Bout Love) issued as third album
1993

ACM Single of the Year – “Chattahoochee”

  • ACM Album of the Year – A Lot About Livin’ (And A Little ‘Bout Love)
  • CMA Single & Video of the Year – “Chattahoochee”
  • CMA Vocal Event of the Year – “I Don’t Need Your Rockin’ Chair”
  • ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year
  • TNN/Music City News Entertainer & Male Artist of the Year
  • TNN/Music City News Video of the Year – “Midnight In Montgomery”
  • Honky Tonk Christmas issued as holiday album
1994

ACM Male Vocalist of the Year

  • CMA Song of the Year – “Chattahoochee”
  • CMA Album of the Year – Common Thread: Songs Of The Eagles
  • ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year
  • ASCAP Country Song of the Year – “Chattahoochee”
  • TNN/Music City News Entertainer & Male Artist of the Year
  • TNN/Music City News Single & Video of the Year – “Chattahoochee”
  • TNN/Music City News Album of the Year – Alot About Livin’ (And A Little ‘Bout Love)
  • Who I Am issued as fifth album
1995

CMA Entertainer of the Year

  • The Greatest Hits Collection issued as sixth album
  • ACM Male Vocalist of the Year
  • TNN/Music City News Entertainer & Male Artist of the Year
  • TNN/Music City News Single of the Year – “Livin’ On Love”
  • TNN/Music City News Album of the Year – Who I Am
  • TNN/Music City News Vocal Event – “A Good Year For The Roses”
1996

Everything I Love issued as seventh album

  • TNN/Music City News Entertainer & Male Artist of the Year
1997

Becomes national spokesman for Ford Trucks

  • TNN/Music City News Entertainer & Male Artist of the Year
1998

 

High

  • HereMileage issued as eighth album
  • ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year

 

1999

Under The Influence issued as ninth album

2000

CMA Vocal Event of the Year – "Murder on Music Row" with George Strait

  • When Somebody Loves You issued as tenth album
  • Nashville Music Awards Male Vocalist Of The Year
  • USA Today Top 10 Country Album – When Somebody Loves You
  • Chicago Tribune Top 10 Country Album – When Somebody Loves You
  • Country Music Magazine Top 10 Single of the Year – “Murder On Music Row” with George Strait “It Must Be Love”
  • Country Music Magazine Male Vocalist Of The Year
  • Country Weekly Magazine Top 10 Country Album – Under The Influence
2001

TNN/CMT/Country Weekly Awards Song of the Year–“Murder On Music Row ” with George Strait

  • TNN/CMT/Country Weekly Awards Single of the Year–“Murder On Music Row” with George Strait
  • TNN/CMT/Country Weekly Awards Collaborative Event of the Year–“Murder On Music Row” with George Strait
  • TNN/CMT/Country Weekly Awards Video of the Year – “www.memory”
  • TNN/CMT/Country Weekly Awards Album of the Year – “When Somebody Loves You”
  • TNN/CMT/Country Weekly Awards Male Artist of the Year
  • Billboard Magazine #1 Hot Country Songwriter
  • Billboard Magazine and Country Airplay Monitor #7 Most Played Artist Of The Year – All Formats
2002

Drive issued as eleventh album - debuted at #1 on SoundScan’s Top Current Albums Chart (4 weeks) and Top Current Country Albums Chart (5 weeks)

  • ACM Song of the Year – “Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)”
  • ACM Single of the Year – “Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)”
  • ACM Male Vocalist of the Year
  • Music Row Awards Song of The Year – “Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)”
  • Let It Be Christmas issued as twelfth album and second Holiday album
  • CMA Entertainer of the Year
  • CMA Male Vocalist of the Year
  • CMA Song of the Year – “Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)”
  • CMA Album of the Year – Drive
  • CMA Single of the Year – “Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)”
  • CCMA (Christian Country Music Association) Song of the Year – “Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)
  • CCMA Video of the Year – “Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)”
  • ASCAP Golden Note Award ASCAP Country Songwriter/Artist of the Year
  • NSAI Songwriter’s Achievement Award – “Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)”
  • NSAI Songwriter/Artist of the Year
2003

Grammy Award for Best Country Song of the Year – “Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)”

  • R&R Reader's Poll (February 21, 2003) – Male Vocalist
  • ACM Album of the Year – Drive
  • ACM Video of the Year – “Drive (For Daddy Gene)”
  • Country Weekly Fan Favorite Entertainer
  • Country Weekly Fan Favorite Collaborative Song – “Designated Drinker” with George Strait
  • Country Weekly Fan Favorite Song – “Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)”
  • Country Weekly Fan Favorite Album – Drive
  • Billboard Magazine Country Airplay Monitor (July 25, 2003) #1 Core Artist in Country Music
  • Greatest Hits Volume II And Some Other Stuff issued as thirteenth album
  • CMA Entertainer of the Year
  • CMA Male Vocalist of the Year
  • CMA Vocal Event of the Year – “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” – with Jimmy Buffett
  • ASCAP Country Songwriter/Artist of the Year

 

 

2004

ACM Single Record of the Year – “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” - with Jimmy Buffett

  • ACM Vocal Event of the Year – “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” – with Jimmy Buffett
  • What I Do issued as fourteenth album release

 

2005

Jackson became the first country artist ever to earn RIAA Gold certification for two Digital Singles (signifying 100,000 purchased downloads) with the success of "It's Five O’Clock Somewhere" and "Remember When."

  • In response to Hurricane Katrina, Jackson participated in multiple benefit concerts, including the televised Country Reaches Out: An Opry Benefit for the American Red Cross, and the mammoth, multi-genre ReAct Now: Music & Relief MTV concert event.
  • To further hurricane relief, Jackson teamed with the American Red Cross for a national PSA, in addition to becoming the face and voice of the regional "Thanks, Nashville" campaign.
2006

Precious Memories issued as fifteenth album release, first gospel album to debut at #1 on Soundscan's Top Country Album

  • Precious Memories – Live at the Ryman released on DVD
  • The release of Precious Memories was accompanied by a corresponding concert special which aired on GAC and was taped live at the Ryman Auditorium.
  • In June, the DVD, Precious Memories – Live at the Ryman, was released. Precious Memories was certified Gold and Platinum in August and became the only Platinum-certified country gospel disc by a solo artist in SoundScan history. Precious Memories became the only gospel recording in history to debut at #1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart, and Jackson became the first country artist ever to debut an album of all -spiritual material at #1 on the Top Christian Albums and Top Christian & Gospel Albums charts, and the first artist ever to top all three charts at once.
  • In September, Like Red on a Rose became Jackson’s sixteenth album release and first produced by Alison Krauss.
2007

 

Like Red on a Rose certified Gold.

  • In April, Precious Memories was named Country Album of the Year at the 38th Annual GMA Dove Awards.
  • From May through October, Jackson embarked on a 30-date co-headlining tour with Brooks & Dunn.
    "A Woman's Love," from Like Red on a Rose, became Jackson's 45th Top 5 single.
    Jackson shared honors as the Nashville Songwriters Association International's 2007 Songwriter/Artist of the Year.
  • Jackson recorded the songs "It's All About Him" and "That's the Way" exclusively for wife Denise's best-selling memoir, It's All About Him.
  • The most-nominated artist in CMA history, Jackson earned his 75th career CMA Award nomination for Hey, Good Lookin'," a Vocal Event collaboration with George Strait and Jimmy Buffett. The song was from the Jackson/Strait/Buffett concert album, Live at Texas Stadium, released earlier in the year.
  • In November, Precious Memories was named Inspirational Country Album of the Year at the 13th Annual Inspirational Country Music Award Show.
2008

Released March 4, Good Time became Jackson's 17th album, containing 17 songs, and marking the first time in his career Jackson had been the sole writer on his entire album. Good Time became the fourth release of Alan's career to simultaneously debut at #1 on Billboard's pop and country album sales charts.

  • The album's first single, "Small Town Southern Man," logged multiple weeks atop the country airplay charts and became Jackson's 32nd #1 single.
  • In August, Jackson was honored at a celebration commemorating 50 million albums sold.
    "Good Time" became the second single - and second #1 - from the Good Time album.
    Earning four nominations for the 42nd Annual CMA Awards, Jackson extended his lead as the all-time most nominated artist in CMA history, with 79 career nominations.
  • In October, he was named ASCAP Songwriter/Artist of the Year, recognizing the success of "A Woman's Love" and "Small Town Southern Man."
  • Jackson was celebrated by a host of country's finest artists as his music and career became the focus of an edition of CMT Giants.
2009

Jackson topped the charts with “Country Boy,” the third #1 single in a row from his smash Good Time album.In June, Jackson celebrated his 20-year career anniversary with a free concert for fans in downtown Nashville.

  • In June, Jackson embarked on his first-ever Scandinavian tour, performing in Norway, Sweden & Denmark.
  • In July, CMT premieres the Jackson concert special, Aquapalooza on Lake Martin.
2010

In January, Jackson gives fans a glimpse into his next albumFreight Train with the release of “It’s Just That Way,” the first single from the March 30 album.

  • In February, Mattie Jackson, Jackson’s eldest daughter, writes the treatment for “It’s Just That Way” video, directed by Roman White.
  • Good Time is Certified Platinum by the RIAA and becomes Jackson’s 15th career platinum award.
  • On April 16, Jackson was immortalized in entertainment history when he was presented with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • Alan recorded “As She’s Walking Away” with the Zac Brown Band – the song went on to top the country charts in November, and Alan and the group performed it on the CMA Awards.
  • On November 23, 34 Number Ones – a collection containing all of Alan’s chart-topping hits, as well as “As She’s Walking Away” and two more songs – was released.
2011

Alan wins a Grammy Award for “As She’s Walking Away” with the Zac Brown Band.

  • In March, Alan embarks on his first-ever tour of Australia, which sold out in just hours when tickets were placed on sale a few months earlier.
  • Alan opens a new career chapter by entering into a joint venture to record and release new music with Capitol/EMI Records Nashville.
  • Alan wins his 17th ACM Award – Vocal Event of the Year with the Zac Brown Band for “As She’s Walking Away.”
  • Alan releases “Long Way to Go,” the first single from a new album due in the fall of 2012!
  • Alan earns his 80th CMA Award nomination (with the Zac Brown Band for “As She’s Walking Away”).
  • Alan performs “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” in front of a crowd that includes President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and their wives at a 10th anniversary remembrance event in at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
  • Alan is inducted to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
  • Alan receives a star on Nashville’s Music City Walk of Fame.
2012
  • Alan releases “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore,” from his forthcoming album.
  • On June 5, Alan releases “Thirty Miles West,” his 14th studio album and 13th album to debut at #1 Billboard’s Top Country Albums sales chart.
2013
  • In March, Alan release much anticipated follow-up to 2006 Gospel album, Precious Memories Volume II.
  • In September, Alan releases The Bluegrass Album, writing eight of the 14 songs on the album. Alan enlists some of the best in the bluegrass field, Scott Coney (acoustic guitar), Sammy Shelor (banjo), Adam Steffey (mandolin), Tim Crouch (fiddle), Tim Dishman (bass), Rob Ickes (dobro) and Ronnie Bowman and Don Rigsby (vocals).

 

Arista Nashville Albums:

  • Here In The Real World — 2x Platinum
  • Don’t Rock The Jukebox — 4x Platinum
  • A Lot About Livin’ (And A Little ‘Bout Love) — 6x Platinum
  • Honky Tonk Christmas — Platinum
  • Who I Am — 4x Platinum
  • The Greatest Hits Collection — 6x Platinum
  • Everything I Love — 3x Platinum
  • High Mileage — Platinum
  • Under The Influence — Platinum
  • When Somebody Loves You — Platinum
  • Drive — 4x Platinum
  • Let It Be Christmas — Gold
  • Greatest Hits Volume II — 6x Platinum
  • What I Do — Platinum
    Precious Memories — Platinum
  • Like Red On A Rose — Gold
  • Good Time — Platinum

     

#1's: (35)

Top 5's: (14)

  • More than 60 Career Singles
  • #1's written or co-written by Alan (2 of which were recorded by other artists): 26
  • Total Sales: nearly 60 million (including international)
  • One of the most-nominated artists in CMA Awards history

     

Awards

  • 17 CMA Awards
  • 16 ACM Awards
  • 2 Grammy Awards
  • 7 ASCAP Songwriter/Artist of the Year Awards
  • 2 ASCAP Song of the Year Awards
  • 46 ASCAP Country Song Awards
  • 1 ASCAP Golden Note Award
  • 2 American Music Awards
  • 2 Billboard Awards
  • 6 Music City News Songwriters Awards
  • 1 Nashville Music Award
  • 4 NSAI Awards
  • 5 R&R Reader's Poll Awards
  • 2 SRO Awards
  • 29 TNN/CMT/Country Weekly Awards
  • 1 Blockbuster Entertainment Award
  • 2 CCMA (Christian Country Music Association) Award
  • 1 ICM (Inspirational Country Music) Award
  • 1 CMT Flameworthy Music Video Award
  • 4 Country Weekly Fan Favorite Awards
  • 1 Gospel Music Association Dove Award