Eleven years ago today, Alan Jackson dropped his sixteenth studio album, Freight Train. The album’s first single, “It’s Just That Way,” was released on January 4, 2010. The single debuted at No. 50 on the U.S. Billboard “Hot Country Songs” chart and peaked at No. 16.
In addition to being a commercial success on the charts, the critics also gave the single stellar reviews.
“His new single, ‘It’s Just That Way,’ is a three-and-a-half-minute slice of romantic bliss,” Linda Ryan of “Rhapsody Blog” said in an article. “A new Jackson release is always good news for country music lovers, and if the songs on his upcoming album are half as good as this one, the singer will have hit another home run.”
When asked about why he chose to make the song the title track to Freight Train, Jackson described it as his way of thinking outside the box.
“I’d been kicking around several songs to title the album after, like ‘It’s Just That Way’ and ‘Every Now and Then.’ But they sounded too much like album titles I’d already had Who I Am and What I Do,” said Jackson.
Critic on Freight Train: ‘Alan Jackson Sounds Exceptional’
The 12-track record was also Jackson’s last album with Arista Nashville, the record label he had been signed to since 1989. At the time, he told Great American Country that, even though he would be going in a direction with a different label, he had no plans to retire.
Ryan also added that “There are few things in this world more sublime than Alan Jackson singing a slow-burning love song. With his deep, buttery voice, Jackson sounds exceptional when extolling the virtues of love.
Freight Train debuted at No.7 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and No. 2 on the “Top Country Albums” chart. The album also sold 72,000 copies in its first week. Freight Train was also his first album since 1999’s Under the Influence not to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart.
In addition to “It’s Just That Way,” the other single off the album was the famous “Hard Hat and a Hammer.” Release in May of 2010; the song acted as an homage to most fans who listened to Jackson: blue-collar workers.
The song, backed with the support of his fans, also did well on the charts. It debuted at No. 57 on the U.S. Billboard “Hot Country Songs” chart for the week of May 1, 2010. Later, it peaked at No. 17 on the same chart.
Jackson’s cover of “Till the End” is also featured on the record. Originally co-written and recorded by Vern Gosdin in 1977, Jackson recorded his version nearly 30 years after its initial release. On his track, he included Lee Ann Womack and turned it into a duet.