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Music Review: Alan Jackson adds new facet to sound

Music Review: Alan Jackson adds new facet to sound

Alan Jackson, "The Bluegrass Album" (ACR/EMI Nashville)

September 27th, 2013 by MICHAEL McCALL, Associated Press in News

Veteran country star Alan Jackson ranks among the most tradition-based singers of his generation. Most of his influences are on the surface: honky-tonk, swing, blues and songs both romantic and social that draw on details from his personal life.

Jackson's new "The Bluegrass Album," much like his two collections of gospel hymns, brings out another form of American roots music that he loves. With characteristic laid-back charm, Jackson applies his sweet baritone to the hot acoustic picking and soaring harmonies that characterize bluegrass.

What Jackson brings to the table is outstanding songwriting - an area where contemporary bluegrass can be lacking. The 54-year-old contributes eight original songs, including the standouts "Blacktop" and "Let's Get Back To Me And You," as well as two by his nephew Adam Wright, who co-produced the collection with Jackson's longtime studio collaborator, Keith Stegall.

Jackson tips his hat to bluegrass history by covering Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" and the Dillards' great "There Is A Time," and he runs John Anderson's "Wild And Blue" through a mountain gap without losing its soulful strength.

To Jackson's credit, he doesn't aim any of these songs to fit country radio's format. Instead, he concentrates on making a solid string-band album for the ages - and succeeds.

Link:

www.alanjackson.com