Alan Jackson tapped for Country Music Hall of Fame

Cindy Watts , USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee

Alan Jackson, Jerry “Guitar Man” Reed and “The Gambler” writer Don Schlitz are 2017’s class of inductees into The Country Music Hall of Fame.

The Country Music Association made the announcement Wednesday morning during an event at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The men will raise the number of those inducted into The Country Music Hall of Fame to 133.

Jackson, Reed and Schlitz will be formally inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame during a Medallion Ceremony at CMA Theater later this year.

“This year’s class is so special because they really all are storytellers,” Country Music Association CEO Sarah Trahern said. “Each one of them have really written songs that have been a part of our American musical history."

Hall of Fame member Vince Gill hosted the announcement, introducing inductees in three categories: "Veterans Era Artist," "Modern Era Artist," and "Songwriter," awarded every third year in rotation with two other categories.

Modern Era Artist – Alan Jackson

Jackson, part of country music’s famed class of 1989, was invited to join the Country Music Hall of Fame 28 years after he signed his record deal with Arista Nashville.

“My whole career has just been a fairytale, all the stuff that’s happened to me,” Jackson said. “I came to Nashville with nothing and ignorant about the music business and had no experience and then to go through all of this, this is the ultimate piece of the puzzle. I don’t even know how to describe it.”

Alan Eugene Jackson was born to Joseph Eugene Jackson and Ruth Musick Jackson on Oct. 17, 1958, in Newnan, Ga., and has four older sisters.

His country career started as the lead singer of a hometown band Dixie Steel while he was working odd jobs, touring and writing songs. Jackson’s wife Denise was a flight attendant and, through a chance meeting with Glenn Campbell, the Jacksons connected with Campbell’s music publishing company. He moved to Music City within weeks.

Now 58, the singer in his early career made a name for himself with his unique blend of current, classic and honkytonk sounds that embodied the genre’s neotraditional movement. He was the flagship artist on Arista Nashville and found immediate success with his debut album “Here in the Real World,” home to hits including “I’d Love You All Over Again,” “Wanted” and “Chasin’ that Neon Rainbow.” His voice was instantly recognizable and during the video age, popular clips including “Chattahoochee” cemented his cowboy-hat-wearing country man image and pushed his star even higher.