It’s hard for me to say that this is a critical moment for Alan Jackson.
But the fact is that right now is a critical moment in his career. It’s hard to believe. More than twenty years after becoming one of the biggest country stars of all time, Alan is at a crossroads. He’s a couple years removed now from his amicable leave with his only record label, Arista Nashville. Alan is trying to get his second single on his own, So You Don’t Have To Love Me Anymore, up the charts.
So far things have been a bit stalled. With a new album finally set for release. This summer is shaping up to be one of the most important in the career of Alan Jackson.
Time to Succeed Once Again for Alan Jackson
When all is done with Alan Jackson’s career he will be remembered as one of the best ever. There is nothing left for Alan Jackson to prove in the grand scheme. He’s done is all. He’s been everywhere. He has more hits than just about any other country star in history. The man has nothing left to prove.
But that’s where I think I’m underestimating the drive inside this man.
The last two years have been interesting. Alan parted ways with the only label he’s known. He was out on his own for the first time in two decades. It was interesting at the time. The partnership had been one of the longest and most successful in country history. Alan was coming off one of his biggest albums of all time with Good Time, but the interesting release of Freight Train seemed to put the writing on the wall. The time for change had arrived.
Alan enjoyed a #1 hit with As She’s Walking Away with Zac Brown Band. Next, Alan released his first single as a man without a record label. The song Long Way to Go reached the top 25 on the charts. It was a modest hit. The song was catchy. Man country fans enjoyed it, but it seemed uninspired and just seemed to lack that passion Alan had brought to country for years.
This year’s follow up, So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore, caught me off guard. I love the song, but I can’t fight the feeling of disappointment. I’m of the opinion that Alan needs to get back to his roots. This same thing happened when he released Like Red On A Rose. He came back strong with Good Time, which was entirely written by AJ himself. He got back to his roots and won over the hearts and ears of country fans.
So You Don’t Have To Love Me Anymore is something different from Alan. It’s a good different, but it just doesn’t sound like the smash hit he needs right now. At this point in his career, Alan Jackson needs the kind of career-defining song that can take him to the next level of his career. He’s done this a few times. I would say the latest was when he released It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere. That song was huge and further established him as one of country’s greatest artists.
Alan’s new record, Thirty Miles West, is scheduled for release next month. The rest of the songs on the record are sure to be great. I’ll probably download the entire album (legal download for my phone and computer) the day it’s released. I love listening to country music in my truck and I can’t wait to give this record a few spins on the truck speakers.
This album is one of the biggest and most critical moments in Alan Jackson’s career. He certainly doesn’t have to prove anything at this point. He’s earned the right to make the kind of music he wants to make.
As a fan, though, I just want to see him succeed on the charts. And so far I haven’t heard that smash hit record that brings Alan back to the center of attention in country music. Maybe he’s not looking for that in this new stage in his career.
But I just have a feeling like he’s ready to show the country world once again that he’s the man.
I’m ready for the next single to be that song. It’s going to be big.
It’s going to be a good summer for Alan Jackson.