Recommendation XXXX: Alan Jackson (triple-track)

Oh yes, we’ve gone and done it – we’ve made it to number forty.  I had no idea how long it would take us to reach here, but it’s been quite a journey of good music.  I’ve certainly got some worthy ideas for my upcoming recommendations/blog entries, but I like to wait and leave some space in between each one, because I feel that if a post gets buried under others, people are less likely to read it, it seems.  This one is extra special because of the artist and the big number.  Words really cannot express either one.  So, without, further ado…

My fortieth recommendation is/are: Alan Jackson’s “A Little Bluer Than That” from his 2002 Drive album, “Leave a Light On” from The Wrights’s 2005 Down This Road album, AND “Good Imitation of the Blues” from his 2006 Like Red On a Rose album.  I did tell you, or hint, that Mr. Alan Jackson would be next in the CMT Giants entry, and that time has finally arrived.  Yeah, seeing that it is forty, seems like four songs would be a better choice, but I didn’t want to overextend myself in writing lol – three is a good enough amount for me!  I also thought about choosing a Christmas song from Alan, since it is the season, but I passed (bah humbug).  Alan is my second all-time favorite artist, behind George Strait, and just before Brooks & Dunn.  His hard-core neo-traditionalism has always been one of the main reasons I’ve been drawn to him, and his music is a huge part of my upbringing in the late 80’s, ’90s, and til today.  Alan’s songs have always had that signature sound to it: traditionalism with touches of modern production added to it, that’s been a big part of his appeal and that simplicity to the music he writes and records.  He’s one of Georgia’s best exports, and we sure are glad to have him.  I won’t go through all the tunes that go along with my different (precious) memories, because that would take forever, and I did talk about him in good length on the Giants entry, so here’s what you’ll get.  From the man who brought us the pure dark-honesty of “Here In the Real World” to today’s silly, innuendo-laced “Country Boy”, let’s talk more about the A-Jax.

Screening 2002’s Drive album, I had the arduous task of choosing one track to highlight from the project.  I truly believe this is Alan’s best album to date, so like I said, it was not easy.  I went ahead and selected “A Little Bluer Than That” because it has always been one that I’ve enjoyed to listen to.  From the get-go, with the opening verse: ” well tonight, if you turn your radio on / you might hear a sad, sad song / about someone who lost everything they had / it may sound like me / but I’m a little bluer than that… “, you wonder how much more pain a person could endure if they hurt more than someone who lost everything.  How is that possible?  And that person must be going crazy.  Even though Jackson did not write this one, a certain Irene Kelley co-wrote it (she has also recorded the song as well, and in addition, adds her background harmony to Alan’s version), he sells the song like he wrote it himself through his emotional vocal delivery and puts his own stamp on it.  It’s got a nice bluegrass-y kinda feel to it with the signature Alan tic tac bass guitar solo engraved in it.  Unquestionably, one of the best songs on the Drive album.

This next one I wasn’t too sure about.  Not because of the quality of the song, because it is excellent throughout, but because it isn’t exactly an Alan song.  In “Leave a Light On”, the tenth track on The Wrights‘s debut album, I’d consider Alan’s contribution more like a “tri-et” if you will, if considered anything.  His vocals do not show up until like the last minute of the almost four minute song, but when it does, it makes your ears perk up and become even more infused in the traditional old-school steel/piano-immersed song.  I don’t think it’s a “duet” because Alan is near the end and the first three minutes display (captivating) vocals split between the couple: Adam and Shannon Wright.  When Alan comes in, he sings loud and prominent and all three sing together, and man, it sounds so good.  It is sincerely a one-of-a-kind collaboration, and even more special because of Alan’s hand in promoting these two (Adam Wright is Alan’s nephew, I believe) and how similar the song is of Alan’s own style.  I really am impressed with the vocals from The Wrights and I think they’re pretty underrated (I just might have to recommend them in an individual entry later on).

One of the obvious winner tracks on the Like Red On a Rose album, is indubitably (to borrow a key phrase from a nutty friend) is “Good Imitation of the Blues”.  With a very sophisticated-sounding piano intro, you know you’re in for a treat.  This is as cool and laid-back as Alan’s ever been before, and the production is perfect: a nifty blend of blues and country… with a slight bluegrass-ish feel added by Dan Tyminski‘s ever-so soothing background harmonies in the chorus.  “Good Imitation…”, along with the title track of the album, and the other tracks, are relaxing and calm and so collected.  Even the album cover just captures that mood.  I may not love every song, or even care to hear every one, but it was a nice departure from the same ole/same ole (which is what the latest album, Good Time, seems to suffer from).  I like music experimentation and I think utilizing different producers can do that.  Anyway, back to “Good Imitation”.  I’m not sure I really completely understand the lyrics: is he really hurt or is he really just doing fine and just pretending to be hurt because he was ready for her leaving?  Despite that (and it doesn’t really matter to me, because Alan and Dan make whatever the words are about, resonate good on CD lol), it’s just an all around great song.  That bluesy electric guitar solo with the piano is almost angry-sounding, while being really comforting at the same time.

I really don’t have much to say about Alan, but just praise, praise, praise.  I would really love if it he ventured out and found some other producers to work with (Keith Stegall has proved to be incredible for Alan, but it’s time for new territories to be discovered, I think).  I wouldn’t want to lose that traditional sound, but it would be nice to see and hear different arrangements.  Rick Rubin and maybe T Bone Burnett would be creative partners to jam with.  They could either bring out a more rockin’ side of Alan, or strip it down, or both.  Who knows?  Alan’s got lots of options and he’s got plenty of years left to keep impressing us fans.

Thank you for reading!

Buy “A Little Bluer Than That”, “Leave a Light On” (with The Wrights), and “Good Imitation of the Blues” from iTunes right now!

Here are the full lyrics to “A Little Bluer Than That”, written by Mark Irwin & Irene Kelley:

Well tonight, if you turn your radio on
You might hear a sad, sad song
About someone who lost everything they had
It may sound like me
But I’m a little bluer than that

When you look out in the morning, you might see
Clouds rolling by like memories
And a big old sky above you looking back
You may think of me
But I’m a little bluer than that

Where did we go wrong?
I wish I knew
It haunts me all the time
Now, wherever I go and
Whatever I do
You’re always on my mind

I can picture you in his arms tonight
But as for me, it don’t feel right
To let us fade like some old photograph
It may work for you
But I’m a little bluer than that

Where did we go wrong?
I wish I knew
It haunts me all the time
Now, wherever I go and
Whatever I do
You’re always on my mind

So tonight, if you turn your radio on
You might hear a sad, sad song
About someone who lost everything they had
It may sound like me
But I’m a little bluer than that

You may think of me
But I’m a little bluer than that

————————-

Here are the full lyrics to “Leave a Light On”, written by Adam Wright:

Adam: Far away from home now
And running out of road
Leave a light on for me
Both: I’m weary from the travel
And I’m weary from the load
Leave a light on for me

Both: Put one light in the window
And a light outside the door
If I ever get back home
A: I won’t leave no more
Both: I’ve been down a million highways
Seen all that I can see
Leave a light on for me

Shannon: Well, I wandered through the darkness
And I wandered through the day
Both: Leave a light on for me
Staggered and I stumbled
And I’ve nearly lost my way
So leave a light on for me

Both: Put one light in the window
And a light outside the door
If I ever get back home
I won’t leave no more
In the midst of all the darkness
There is one light I will see
Leave a light on for me

Alan: Put one light in the window
And a light outside the door
If I ever get back home
I won’t leave no more

All: I’ve been down million highways
Seen all that I can see
So leave a light on for me
Yeah, leave a light on for me…

————————-

Here are the full lyrics to “Good Imitation of the Blues”, written by Patrick Brayer:

You called it quits
And hung up the phone
Now go love the one you choose
And my friends say I should be happy
If I’m happy
This is a good imitation of the blues

You’ve threatened to leave one too many times
I’m getting out a traveling shoe
And now that you are gone
I’m gonna be walking home with this good imitation of the blues

My friends all say you’re no good without me
They tell me that’s good for you
They say that I’m just doing fine
This good imitation of the blues

You’ve threatened to leave one too many times
I’m getting out a traveling shoe
And now that you are gone
I’m gonna be walking home with this good imitation of the blues

—————————————————-

http://www.alanjackson.com/

http://www.bertwhite.com/ (A.J. fan-site)

http://www.thewrightsmusic.com/

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1 Comment

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