Artist Outlook 2011: Alan Jackson

This year is going to be interesting for Alan Jackson.

Alan Jackson Freight TrainAlan had an interesting 2010. Last spring Alan released his last album Freight Train. I was pretty excited about the release as I always am when Alan releases new material. The album was full of good songs. I tend to not be drawn towards the slower songs Alan does so I kind of held my breath and bided time during the first single It’s Just That Way. The song was good, but not my favorite AJ tune.

Next up was Hard Hat And A Hammer – a more classic styled Alan Jackson song. This one only cracked the top twenty like the single before it and things seemed in limbo for Alan. As we found out later there were a few changes happening behind the curtain at Alan’s label and 2010 kind of makes sense in retrospect.

It’s hard to know what the rest of 2011 will hold for Alan Jackson. For the last 20+ years he’s been a mainstay at the top of the singles and album charts. His songs have always been influential to listeners while making an impact on the radio charts and sales charts. It’s hard to imagine someone as talented and driven as Alan Jackson would be out of the spotlight for long.

Alan Jackson 2011

Even though Alan’s 2010 had it’s middle of the road singles there was a bright spot on the charts. Alan temaed up with the Zac Brown Band for As She’s Walking Away – a single that went all the way to number one on the charts. You can’t keep Alan off the charts. Country fans love him.

I’m not sure if Alan is going to be on any other duo’s or collaborations in 2011. The other day I mentioned the short term disappearance of George Strait.┬áIn an awesome world I think maybe we’d see Alan and George team up again for a mega single in late 2011.

We can dream right?

Touring

To kick off 2011 Alan went down under in Australia for his first ever tour in the country. The tour was completely sold out. I can imagine the excitement down there. Alan’s been a huge star there for years and has never toured. I know I’d be the first one in line to see him. He could play for days with all the hits he’s had.

Now that his Aussie tour is over Alan is heading up to Canada with the country newcomers The Harters. I’m sure those up the Great White North will be loving the classics from Alan at those shows. Perhaps he’ll even bring out a few new songs never before heard. That would be quite the treat.

After a short trip to Canada Alan is back in the States for a few shows throughout the summer. It doesn’t look like a full blown tour schedule, but it should be enough for the country veteran.

Beyond that it even looks like AJ is heading to Europe for a few shows in Sweden and Norway.

That’s a busy year of travel and fans around the world are lucky to have the chance to see Alan perform his classic country hits.

New Single

It’s hard to predict if Alan will release a new single in 2011.

I don’t think there has been a year since 1989 without a new Alan Jackson song out at radio. I’d sure hope 2011 won’t be the first. Alan’s too good not to put out some new music for his fans. He always seems to have something to share and his music is the outlet for his mindful thoughts on life, love, and family.

Hopefully Alan isn’t discouraged with how things went with Freight Train. It was a great album that seemed to be the victim of a situation at his label Arista. The first single was a questionable choice. The second was a great song that kind of lacked enthusiasm. There won’t be a third even though songs like the title track would be great for radio. We know people still want to hear AJ on the radio. He just sang on the last number one track with the Zac Brown Band.

I’m holding out hope for a new Alan Jackson single by the fall. That should give him enough time to write some new tunes and get them on record in between trips all over the world.

I’m holding on to that hope.

New Album

The hopes for a new Alan Jackson single are still holding high. An album may be another story though.

In case I haven’t already mentioned, Alan and his long time label Arista parted ways in late 2010. It was the end of a 22 year relationship that saw somewhere around 50 million records sold, countless number one hits, and various awards. It was a successful relationship by all measures, but it seems both parties thought it best to go separate ways. Perhaps they’ll return again. It’s happened with other artists in the past. For now, though, what was known in Alan Jackson’s career is now an unknown.

My thought is a new single will be released by the fall with an album shortly thereafter.

The question is who will release the single and album…

Alan’s Country Records

Awhile back Alan started his own label – Alan’s Country Records.

The label released the music of The Wrights in 2005. Adam Wright is Alan’s nephew. The duo had some success, but never really broke out into the mainstream.

I don’t know if the label is still open for business or if Alan will revive it for his own career. He certainly has the clout in the industry to get the attention of radio when he wants to come back. People still want to hear some AJ on the radio waves.

Other artists have succeeded with their own labels, but it takes a lot of commitment and has to be a bit of a change for the artists used to having a label working for them to promote and market.

Update: After writing this article news broke that Alan has signed a joint agreement with EMI Nashville. This seems like a strong move for AJ. As a site owner I’m a little sad since EMI typically doesn’t allow video embed, but that’s ok.

This should also mean new music from AJ by the end of the year.

Summary

It’s going to be an interesting year for Alan Jackson.

Perhaps he’s content touring the world and taking his time before making his next move. As a fan I’m sure maybe I’m the one doing the most worrying about his future. He’s been a star for so long perhaps he needs a break.

It certainly hasn’t been quiet for Alan thus far in 2011. He’s been accepting awards like the Rodeo Houston Hall of Fame. Maybe he wasn’t inducted now that I give that article a second look. He did play for his one millionth fan at the rodeo in Houston though. Pretty impressive.

Alan has also been heard on national commercials for GE. Alan’s track Good Time has been the theme for the company looking to brand itself as people friendly in 2011.

I’m holding out hope for new Alan Jackson music in 2011. I can’t say I’m completely confident he’ll get it done. Things have changed on the label front for the country legend so there are no guarantees.

I’ll go with history and say he’ll get a new song out by the end of the year.

Beyond that we can never be sure what Alan will do. All we know is it will be amazing.

Shop all Alan Jackson

Dayne Shuda

Founder of Country Music Life. Follow on Twitter: @dayneshuda Follow on Google+: Dayne Shuda

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