Alan Jackson’s Personal New Album Features Songs for His Late Mother + His Daughters
Alan Jackson has announced the upcoming release of his first album in six years, and the songs draw on some very personal themes. Two of the new songs were written for his daughters, while he wrote a third to honor his mother after her death in 2017.
The country music icon announced on Friday (April 2) that he will release a massive new album titled Where Have You Gone on May 14, 2021. The 21-song new project features "You'll Always Be My Baby" and "I Do," which Jackson wrote for his daughters' weddings.
"The first I wrote for Mattie's wedding, the summer of 2017," Jackson says in a press release. "But it was so hard to do, I told 'em, 'I wrote this for all of you. I'm not writing another!' The second just came out one day."
There's also a song inspired by Jackson's mother titled "Where Her Heart Has Always Been," which he wrote for her funeral. Mrs. Ruth Musick "Mama Ruth" Jackson died at her home in Georgia on Jan. 7, 2017, at the age of 86, and Jackson's studio version of "Where Her Heart Has Always Been" features an old recording of her reading from the Bible. One of the singer-songwriter's four sisters found the recording after the initial mix of the song was complete, and it was added on to finish the track.
"That was sweet. Towards the last few years, she had a scratchy voice," Jackson says. "But she was just such a sweet woman, a sweet, sweet lady, so we had to have that on here."
Jackson continues to proudly bear the standard of a devout country traditionalist on Where Have You Gone, whose title song openly laments the passing of classic country music from the radio airwaves. He enlisted longtime producer Keith Stegall for the new project, which he says represents "a little harder country than even I’ve done in the past."
“And it’s funny, I was driving and listening to the final mixes Keith sent me, and I started to tear up," Jackson shares. "I was surprised to get so overly emotional, but I just love this kind of music."
Jackson teased fans with three new tracks on Friday: "Where Have You Gone" is a mournful, steel-soaked ballad, while "Way Down in My Whiskey" is a classic country lost-love drinking song and "Things That Matter" is a thoughtful, acoustic-based message song. Fans had already heard the album's closing track, "The Older I Get," which Jackson released in 2017.
Where Have You Gone is Jackson's first new album since Angels & Alcohol in 2015. The album is currently available for pre-order.
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