Music Review: Alan Jackson back on top


The cover to Alan Jackson’s album, “Where Have You Gone.”

When I think of Alan Jackson, I think of my teenage years. I think about the times my high school friends and I would sing at the top of our lungs, “Way down yonder on the Chatahoochee” and a smile immediately takes over my face.

I think about my father and how he would always say, “That boy can sing” every single time he would come on T.V. or the radio. And my mother following it up with, “Now that’s one good lookin’ fella.”

When I heard Alan was about to make a new record after a six-year hiatus, I thought to myself, “How is he ever going to compete with the type of music that they’re playing on country radio today?”

Well, he didn’t try.

Jackson’s new album purposely titled, “Where Have You Gone” (pertaining to country music), is Alan Jackson to the core. For a minute, I thought I was back listening to his 1990 debut album, “Here In the Real World.”

The night the Country Music Awards aired and Alan took the stage to sing his hit song, “Drive” followed up by his new song off the new record, “You’ll Always Be My Baby” (written for his daughter), I knew that country music lovers would be in for a treat.

I found myself singing along to every song I heard on the album by the second verse, even though it was the first time I heard the song. I just knew the story that was about to be told. I knew because it was Alan Jackson that was going to be telling it.

For the first time in a very long time, a steel guitar and fiddle are the instruments on display in the songs. Just like the way it used to be. Before drum beats and “bro country” took the stage.

In true Jackson form, all of his songs are about love, family, and well, whiskey. Songs like “Way Down In My Whiskey,” and “Wishful Drinkin’” make you want to pull up a barstool and order a double.

On the more serious side you’ll find a song called, “I Do” written for his daughter's wedding, and “Where Her Heart Has Always Been” written for his mama’s funeral.

“Back” is a song that Jackson says was a joke that he had with his daughters about the Justin Timberlake song, “I’m Bringin’ Sexy Back.” Jackson at the time told them, “Oh yeah, well I’m bringin’ country back.” And out came the song.

The album rounds out with my absolute favorite called ”The Older I Get.” I get a lump in my throat every time I hear it. You suddenly find yourself seeing your OWN life as you get lost in the words of the song.

If you are a TRUE country fan, you are going to love this record.

This country girl definitely gives it 5 high peaks.

Born and raised in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York, Amanda Martin moved to Nashville, TN directly out of high school. Amanda has 20 years experience as a published singer/songwriter. Contact Amanda at

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