Alan Jackson’s Freight Train Hauls Josh Turner, Chris Young

Alan Jackson’s Freight Train Hauls Josh Turner, Chris Young
Tom Roland -

All aboard! Alan Jackson’s Freight Train Tour hits the tracks on Thursday, and a couple of his passengers have turned it into a rather appropriate musical package.

Alan’s opening acts are Josh Turner and Chris Young, two artists with deep, rich voices and an obvious love of country music tradition. Teaming them with a guy like Alan — whose appreciation for such classic-country acts as George Jones and Vern Gosdin is well-documented — should make for a very consistent evening at a concert hall.

Alan usually incorporates a lot of video into his shows. Other than that, he’s a no-frills artist who keeps the attention focused on the music. And Josh plans to take the same approach this year, even though his monster hit “Why Don’t We Just Dance” might suggest a little choreography.

“No dancers,” he says emphatically. “Maybe after a couple of extra No. 1s, maybe I could afford that, but right now, we’re kinda on a budget. We’re gonna go out, do 50 minutes in front of [Alan]. We did a few dates with him last year and we’re lookin’ forward to kickin’ the year off with him, doin’ that. He and I obviously have a lot of the same kind of fans, and so it’s gonna be fun to be able to play to that crowd again this year for 15-20 dates. [But] yeah, no dancers!”

For Chris, the tour is a perfect way to connect the dots with fans who are just now discovering him. He signed with RCA after winning “Nashville Star” on the USA Network in 2006 but just earned his first No. 1 single last year with “Gettin’ You Home (The Black Dress Song).” He’s still a bit in awe of being associated with the Freight Train Tour.

“Just even sayin’ it is kind of weird for me — sayin’ that I’m gonna be on tour with Alan Jackson,” Chris observes. “This is somebody that so many people are huge fans of his music. But, especially for me, the people that I mention when I start saying, ‘I’m a big fan of…’ — he’s one of the people that’s always mentioned, just because I love his music. I love him as a songwriter. When I got to go out with him last year for a couple shows, and do just one or two dates with him, I remember I was so excited about that, and now bein’ able to tell people [I’m doing a whole tour], it’s just a big deal.”

The first round of Freight Train shows makes stops around the Southeast. The tour starts Thursday in Ft. Myers, Fla., followed Friday in Orlando, Saturday in Atlanta and Sunday in Greenville, S.C.