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Alan Jackson Has Uncertain Future With Longtime Label

Russ Harrington

In 1989, Alan Jackson was the very first artist to be signed to then-fledgling country label, Arista Nashville. It’s been home to the country music superstar ever since. But now that his contract is up with the label, some 50 million albums down the road, the Georgia native considers himself a free agent.

“I’m not on anybody’s label,” Alan tells CMT. “I’m not saying I won’t be on their label. We just haven’t really negotiated anything for the future — and I haven’t with anybody, to be honest with you.

“I don’t know what’s gonna happen,” he adds. “We’re just kind of seeing what the options are out there.”

Alan emphasizes that he’s not ruling out re-upping with Arista and its parent company, Sony Music Nashville — which is currently headed up by music industry veteran, Gary Overton, who happened to be Alan’s manager during the mid-’90s.

“I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do,” Alan reflects. “I don’t have anything against the Sony group. Gary is an old friend. We may end up there. I don’t know. I just really don’t.”

During the 20-year span of his platinum-sellling career, Alan has so far charted 26 No. 1 hits and collected armloads of ACM and CMA awards. In 2002, he was given the Grammy for Best Country Song for his quietly-powerful, ‘Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)’. On December 6, Alan will receive the Greatest Hits Award at the inaugural American Country Awards in Las Vegas, in recognition of his extensive catalog of No. 1 hits throughout his career, and his contributions to country music. The awards ceremony will be broadcast on FOX at 8:00 PM ET.

Alan released his final album for Arista (under his current contract) in November — a career-spanning, greatest hits collection, ’34 Number Ones.’ The double-disc includes his recent collaboration with the Zac Brown Band, ‘As She’s Walking Away,’ and his version of Johnny Cash‘s ‘Ring of Fire.’

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