Houston Chronicle 03/18/2011
NOT HIS FIRST RODEO BY FAR
Alan Jackson has played to 1 million RodeoHouston fans and will be inducted into the Star Trail of Fame
By JOEY GUERRA
ALAN Jackson is about to become RodeoHouston royalty.
Tonight will be his 19th time on the revolving stage, and he’ll become only the fifth entertainer to perform in front of 1 million fans.
He’ll be inducted into the Star Trail of Fame before the show.
(I think that comes with a huge belt buckle.) Jackson joins an impressive group that includes Brooks & Dunn, Reba McEntire, Charley Pride and George Strait.
(Other inductees include Gene Autry, the rodeo’s first star entertainer, Elvis Presley and Roy Rogers.) Onstage, expect Jackson’s usual slowand- steady style and an impressive run of hits. He parted ways with longtime label Arista Nashville in January and is in the early stages of writing a new album. But he does have a secret for keeping things fresh each year when he hits the revolving stage: “I’ve been real lucky and have never been one to change things up too much or do anything too crazy onstage,” he says.
“But if there’s a song that was a big hit around (here) that maybe I don’t normally do, I’ll try to do it for them. You know, with 50 some singles, it’s hard to fit ’em all in sometimes.”
Jackson arrives in town after a successful week of dates in Australia. (G’day mate!)
Q:You’re hitting the 1 million mark tonight. Can you wrap your head around that number?
A:It’s hard to picture a million of anything, I suppose. All I know is there’s always a whole lot of people out there when I walk out on that stage. I guess I can see how they’ve added up to a million over all these years.
Q:What’s an early memory of playing RodeoHouston that sticks with you, even today?
A: Just how overwhelming it is to come out there — and how big it is.
Q:As a veteran rodeo performer, how do you deal with the inevitable sound issues in the stadium?
A: I’ve played enough different places over the years that we’re pretty much prepared for anything anywhere we go.
Q:Favorite rodeo food?
A: Beef brisket.
Q:Scarier— rodeo bulls or rodeo clowns?
A:Well, I guess it’d be easier to deal with if you found yourself in a ring with a clown than a bull!”
Q:You earned your second Grammy alongside fellowRodeo-Houston performer the Zac BrownBand, which begs the question: cowboy hat or knit skull cap?
A:I always wear a cowboy hat onstage, but you’ll also probably find me in a ball cap when I’m at home or getting ready for a show.
Q:Your last studio disc was released in March 2010. Can you give us a tease of what you’ve been working on for the next album?
A:I’m always writing songs. Sometimes an idea just comes to you, and you’ve got to sit down and write it down. Those melodies come from somewhere, and I’ve just been really fortunate to have that.
Q:One thing that always makes you think of Houston?
A:The rodeo is definitely one of the first things that comes to mind, of course. Also a line from an early song, Chasin’ That
Neon Rainbow — “Heading down to Houston for a show on a Saturday night …” email@example.com