Alan Jackson may appear to be a man of few words, yet the country legend confessed that he “about teared up” when he first heard one of his new songs.
The song in question? “A Man Who Never Cries,” one of the songs on his new album, Where Have You Gone.
According to Jackson, he was in his truck when his producer, Keith Steagall, sent him the rough mix. Instead of waiting to get home, he listened right there.
“It was just me singing with the players,” Jackson revealed in a recent interview. “I was driving in my truck down River Road and, man, I about teared up. I thought I’d have to pull the truck over. I was just so proud, and it just felt so good to hear the guys playing on there and just killing it.”
Alan Jackson on Crafting Album Amid Pandemic
Jackson dropped Where Have You Gone earlier in May, marking his first full-length album release since 2015’s Angels & Alcohol. Although the genre has ebbed and flowed since then, Jackson has remained true to himself and his style— even doubling down on his more traditional direction.
In crafting the album, Jackson recruited some of the most well-known professionals in Nashville’s studio scene for the project. He sought out steel guitar legend Paul Franklin, guitarist Brent Mason, and drummer Eddie Bayers. He also found fiddle player Stuart Duncan, keyboardist Gary Primm, dobro player Scotty Sanders, and the late JT Corenflos, who provided electric guitars.
Since Alan Jackson laid down the record during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jackson jokingly says he and his team were a “sad-looking bunch” while working together in masks.
“But when they started playing, those guys played some of the best stuff that I’ve heard in a long time,” he continues. “I think they were happy to play some real country music. They kept telling me: ‘Thanks so much for letting me play on this song or that song.'”
Additionally, Jackson is cautious about seeing his current music have the kind of commercial success he’s seen previously, considering artists similar to his age have trouble getting air time on the radio.
“But you know what? I don’t care,” he admits. “I’m not bitter about it. I’m 62 years old. I know it’s time and that’s just the way it is. I’ve had more hits than just about anybody, and I can’t ask [for] anything more.”