Alan Jackson: Why Bluegrass?
October 12, 2013
By Walter Scott
The 54-year-old country star has released The Bluegrass Album.
It’s pure American music, closely related to country. I’ve always been a fan.
What inspired your song “Blue Side of Heaven,” in which a dying man assures his wife they’ll reunite?
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen that story unfold. It is a sad song, but it has kind of a sweet message.
You’ve been married 33 years. What does that take?
Well, we’ve had our years where we almost didn’t make it. It’s always a challenge. A lot of the time you get children and careers going and you end up being friends more than you’re a married couple. It’s really important to schedule time to be romantic.
Do you listen to pop or rap?
Not much, unless my girls are listening to it. They listen to everything—all kinds of stuff. I think that’s kind of healthy, really.
What’s your ideal weekend?
Growing up, my family didn’t have much money for vacationing. But we’d drive from Georgia to a lake in Alabama. We had an old wood ski boat and we camped. I loved it. Now we have a mountain lake home and I collect antique wooden boats. I’ve got more of those than I’ve got sense.
Online extra: Why does Alan Jackson favor wearing big cowboy hats?
When I first started singing in a band, I was a big fan of artists like Hank Williams Jr. and George Strait, and John Anderson back in the ’80s. But I loved the old guys too, like Hank Williams Sr. and Merle Haggard and everybody that wore cowboy hats, you know? I just thought it was cool. Plus, I had this big old scar on my forehead that I had gotten when I was a young man. It’s not terrible, but it just kind of bugged me. So I started wearing the hat for those two reasons, and it got to be part of my look.
Why are they always white?
I’ve tried to wear black a couple of times. But I’m kinda fair and blonde-headed, and it just don’t look good. My wife says, “You know what? You’re not dark-complexion enough to wear that dark hat.” You gotta have somebody to tell you the truth, you know?