Country Throwback: Alan Jackson Nails ‘Chattahoochee’ at Farm-Aid in 2000

by Clayton Edwards
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Alan Jackson’s “Chattahoochee” is a 90s country classic. The song about coming of age in a small town resonated with fans all around the world.

You don’t have to be from the South to understand what Jackson is singing about in his signature hit. The song sold thousands of copies and spent time at the top of the country chart. It was Billboard’s number-one song of 1993 and won a handful of awards. In short, it’s one hell of a song. Alan Jackson performed the song at Farm Aid in 2000 and crushed the crowd with the live performance.

Chattahoochee” is still a fan favorite. Some songs come and go. Even those that top the charts and sell hundreds of thousands of copies tend to fade from memory over time. It’s only the really great songs that stick around for years to come. To this day, “Chattahoochee” is one of those songs that makes you want to turn the radio up a little louder. When it plays on the jukebox in the bar, the beers seem to go down faster. Likewise, when Alan Jackson performs it live, crowds go wild.

The crowd at Farm Aid was no exception. They cheered when Alan Jackson stepped onto the stage and introduced himself and his band. However, they really lost it with the first line of the song. In the video, the band and Jackson are higher in the mix, you can still hear the crowd screaming as the first chords of the song play.

The combination of relatable lyrics and a killer melody helped the song become a massive hit. It is this combination that will keep fans coming back for years to come.

Alan Jackson at Farm Aid

After Alan Jackson introduces himself and the band, he lays out the spirit of Farm Aid in one sentence, “It’s good to be here with y’all today to help the farmers.” The annual festival and the foundation behind it are there to do just that. For thirty-five years, the festival has used music to raise money for independent agricultural workers.

Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and Neil Young organized the first Farm Aid in 1985. The idea was to raise money for family farmers and ranchers. At the same time, they wanted to raise awareness about those small farmers and ranchers losing their land to corporate takeovers or lack of funds. Their overall goal is to help keep family farmers on their land, according to the Farm Aid website.

Over the past year, their role has become more important. The pandemic magnified several problems and the plight of independent agricultural workers was one of those issues. While social distancing made an in-person festival impossible, the foundation held an online concert with an option to donate.

About the 2020 Farm Aid, Willie Nelson said, “This pandemic and so many other challenges have revealed how essential family farmers and ranchers are to the future of our planet. Farm Aid 2020 is going to give the whole country a chance to learn about the important work of farmers and how they’re contributing to our well-being, beyond bringing us good food.”

Knowing that Alan Jackson was playing his fan-favorite song to assist small, independent farmers and ranchers makes the live performance that much better.

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