What would Merle do? That's a question Alan Jackson often asks himself. The notoriously modest and reserved star says he looks to legends like Merle Haggard and George Strait when preparing his live shows.

"That's who I model myself after," Jackson tells The Detroit Free Press of his musical heroes. "We have a good band, and we play live music and that's it ... I don't jump out of the floor or come out of the ceiling. We don't have exotic dancers."

Jackson admits he's not keen on interviews and prefers life out of the spotlight. His immense success now allows him that luxury.

"Early on in my career, you did what you had to do. But I hated doing all that TV, all the talk shows," he says. "I feel like I don't fit in there ... I can talk to the guy who works on my car easier than I can talk to a reporter."