Alan Jackson gets philosophical on new Angels and Alcohol album

Country superstar Alan Jackson’s new studio album with original material is his first in three years. The 10-track Angels and Alcohol on the singer-songwriter’s own Thirty Miles West imprint (ACR/EMI Nashville) was produced by Jackson’s long-time friend and collaborator, Keith Stegall (George Jones, Zac Brown Band, Clay Walker). The new LP includes seven self-penned songs including the title track and the album’s first single, ‘Jim and Jack and Hank.’ Angels and Alcohol is the platinum-selling Grammy winner’s 15th studio album, appearing 25 years after his 1989 debut album, Here In The Real World. Jackson has since released 22 total albums including two Christmas LPs, two gospel sets, three greatest hits collections, and a bluegrass album—the latter featuring standards and original songs.

Jackson, 56, says writing seven songs for Angels and Alcohol is normal for him. “I've been doing that for a few years now,” he tells Billboard. “When I got started on Music Row, I would write with different writers. Then, once my career took off, I was gone all the time—playing a couple hundred shows a year. You weren't home long enough to wash your clothes. I ended up writing a lot by myself, and it just kind of stayed that way.” Associated Press reports the album delivers “good-time honky-tonk, emotional country ballads and gentle, philosophical tunes about the enduring strengths and occasional difficulties of life.”

When asked if the album title has any special significance, the native of Newnan, Ga., jokes, “[My wife] Denise is the angel. I'm the alcohol. I didn't write [the title track] from a deep dark place. You'll have to hear the lyrics to understand, but it's one of my favorite cuts on the record,” he continues to Billboard. Other song titles from the Angels and Alcohol track list include ‘You Can Always Come Home,’ ‘You Never Know,’ ‘Gone Before You Met Me,’ ‘The One You’re Waiting On,’ ‘I Leave A Light On,’ ‘Flaws,’ ‘When God Paints,’ and ‘Mexico, Tequila and Me.’

Angels and Alcohol is the follow up to Jackson’s 2013 bluegrass experiment aptly titled, The Bluegrass Album, a project he claims he’s wanted to complete since the 1990s. In August 2014 the Country Music Hall of Fame opened an exhibit celebrating Jackson’s 25 years in the music industry. The exhibit highlights the artist’s various career milestones, featuring memorabilia collected over the years. Jackson wrapped up his 25th Anniversary Keepin' It Country Tour in May.

The avid boater and fisherman also collaborated with noted marine wildlife artist Guy Harvey to raise money and awareness for ocean conservation and research. A logo designed by Harvey for t-shirts and other tour merchandise depicts Jackson reeling in a leaping sport fish. Jackson and Harvey donated $5 to marine conservation programs for every item sold. The eligible projects are funded through the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, which advocates sustainable fishing practices, funds scientific research, and supports educational programs.

The singer-songwriter who composed the poignant ‘Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)’ in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, is set to perform later this year during appearances at the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles, Calif. (July 28); Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul, Minn. (Aug. 30); Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Ill. (Aug. 31); and the Chasin' The Sun Music Festival in Panama City Beach, Fla. (Sept. 26).

Watch a video about the new Alan Jackson exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

As A Matter of Fact…

* Alan Eugene Jackson was born October 17, 1958, in rural Newnan, Georgia. He was raised on gospel music and didn’t listen to country until a friend introduced him to the music of Gene Watson, Hank Williams Jr., and John Anderson.

* Jackson started a band after high school, but didn’t move to Nashville until he was married for six years and almost 30-years-old. He worked in the mailroom of The Nashville Network studios and met country star Glen Campbell, who helped jumpstart Jackson’s career.

* The singer-songwriter signed with Arista Records in 1989 to become the first artist on the roster of the newly formed Arista Nashville branch. Jackson’s debut single, ‘Blue Blooded Woman,’ was followed by the Top 5 country smash, ‘Here In The Real World,’ which is the title track to his 1989 debut album.

* Here in the Real World spawned Jackson’s first No. 1 single with ‘I'd Love You All Over Again,’ but he was only getting warmed up as sophomore release, Don't Rock the Jukebox, yielded four more chart toppers including the title track, ‘Someday,’ ‘Dallas,’ and ‘Love's Got A Hold On You.’

* Alan Jackson has sold nearly 60 million albums worldwide from a catalog that includes 15 studio albums along with three greatest hits LPs, two Christmas albums, and two gospel albums. He has also charted 50 Top 10 hits and 35 No. 1 singles.

* Jackson has earned more than 150 music industry awards including 18 Academy of Country Music Awards, 16 Country Music Association Awards, 2 Grammys, and ASCAP’s Founders and Golden Note awards.

* In 2014 the member of both the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry received the first-ever ASCAP Heritage Award, presented in recognition of being the most performed country music songwriter-artist of ASCAP’s first 100 years. He is also one of the best-selling artists since the inception of SoundScan.

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