WATCH: Alan Jackson Opens Up About Writing the Tear-Jerking Song ‘Where Her Heart Has Always Been’ for His Mom

by Jennifer Shea
Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Capital Concerts

Country star Alan Jackson was bereaved when his mother died, but he channeled his emotions into songwriting. The result was “Where Her Heart Has Always Been,” a single about his Mama from Jackson’s 2021 album Where Have You Gone.

In a new behind-the-scenes video, Jackson talked about the genesis of the song, and detailed its meaning for listeners.

“I wrote it for her funeral,” Jackson explained. And “I really love that track. I tried to write it the way that I knew 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, or a Christmas story, or something from a few years ago that I hadn’t heard… And I thought, ‘Well, that’d be cool to put that on there.’ So we tried to pick a little piece of that that didn’t sound so Christmassy and put it on there, on the front end, and that made it really sweet.”

“It’s supposed to mean that she’s with my Daddy again, because – and I hope that’s the way people hear it – because they were just like one of those couples that were together every moment, almost, of their whole life,” Jackson added. “You know, day and night. Hardly ever apart, that I can remember. And they had a very unusual – unusual in that it was so nice and sweet, and it lasted like that.”   

Watch Alan Jackson talk about “Where Her Heart Has Always Been” here:

Alan Jackson Is a Country Music Traditionalist

When it comes to country music, Jackson is a traditionalist, and he makes no apologies for that. His album Where Have You Gone is at heart about true country music, which he sees as a vanishing phenomenon.

“Country music is gone — and it’s not coming back,” Jackson said in a recent interview. “It’s like the 1980s again. I’m 62 years old; I’m not some 30-year-old stud. It’s not the same, but somebody has to bring it back, because it’s not just people in their 50s, it’s people in their 20s, too.”

As for his album, he said that while it’s “a little harder” than his past work, it’s still real country. And it’s got a sound that he’d like to hear more of these days.

“It’s a little harder country than even I’ve done in the past,” Jackson said in a statement upon his most recent album’s release. “Real country songs are life and love and heartache, drinking and Mama and having a good time… but it’s the sounds of the instruments, too. The steel and acoustic guitar, the fiddle – those things have a sound and a tone… and getting that right, the way those things make you feel, that’s country, too.”

Watch the official Alan Jackson lyric video for “Where Her Heart Has Always Been” here: