There’s a heart wrenching story behind Alan Jackson’s “Where Her Heart Has Always Been.”
Alan Jackson revealed that he wrote the emotional song for his mother’s funeral. Ruth Musick Jackson passed away in 2017 at 86. The new ballad is off of Jackson’s album, Where Have You Gone. Listeners will discover a cameo on the song, his mother, reading a bible verse.
“And I really love that track,” Alan Jackson said. “It’s just really – I tried to write it in a way that I know she would appreciate it. And then after we had cut it and we were just about to finalize the record, my sister sent a recording of mama reading from the Bible for a Christmas story or something from a few years ago that I hadn’t heard, or I don’t remember if I had ever heard it. “
“And I thought that would be cool to put that on there,” he added. “So, we tried to pick a little piece of that that didn’t sound so Christmasy and put on there on the front end and that made it really, really sweet.”
“That was sweet. Towards the last few years, she had a scratchy voice,” Jackson shared. “But she was just such a sweet woman, a sweet, sweet lady, so we had to have that on here.”
Alan Jackson’s Special Music
Ruth inspired Alan Jackson‘s collection of hymns that he specifically recorded at her request. He recently re-released the DVD special, “Precious Memories, Live at the Ryman.” Although he created the record for his mother, it was his wife, Denise, who encouraged him to release it officially.
“I said, ‘I’m just doing this for your mama and my mama,’” Jackson recalled. “And Denise said, ‘I’m telling you if you do these old hymns, and do them like people remembered them in church, people are going to buy that thing.'”
He clarified, “We didn’t make the album with the intention of going out [and] selling a bunch of albums. It was just an honest effort to do something sweet for our mothers.”
Aside from the record and the song he wrote specifically for his mother, Alan Jackson has another song that is near and dear to his family.
Ruth “adopted” the hymn “I Want To Stroll Over Heaven With You,” which is track 15 on his Precious Memories album. The late Mama Ruth thought of her late husband, Eugene, who passed away in 2009. The couple first heard the song together at a gospel event.
“Eugene reached over and touched my hand and said, ‘You like that song, don’t you?’ It was a special song from then on. And now, every time I hear it I think I’m gonna stroll over heaven with him one of these days,” Ruth once recalled.