Along with George Strait, Alan Jackson is one of the few neo-traditional country singers still able to regularly crack the top 10. His no-frills approach is evident on Thirty Miles West, his first album on his own record label, Alan's Country Records.
The bill of sale includes songs about drinking ("Long Way to Go") country music ("Gonna Come Back as a Country Song"), and cancer ("When I Saw You Leaving...").
The latter penned by Jackson about his wife Denise's battle with the disease. According to an interview with Reuters, Jackson wrote the song when she was diagnosed and only played it for her after she was on the road to recovery.
"Like most of the people who hear it, she cried," Jackson said.
On the Road with Zac Brown and Guy Clark
More buoyant in spirit is "Dixie Highway," featuring Zac Brown, about the roadway that Thirty Miles West refers to in its title. Clocking it at over seven minutes, it's a not-so-mini hootenanny that's perfect for a road trip.
"Look Her in the Eye and Lie" shows that Jackson still knows how to write a killer hook. If you're wondering, it's about proper procedure when running into an old flame who's moved on.
I could have sworn "So You Don't Have to Love Me Anymore" was a standard, but it turns out the devastating song was freshly written by Jackson's nephew Adam Wright with Jay Knowles.
Guy Clark co-wrote "Talk Is Cheap," which advises listeners to stop gabbing and "get busy living or at least die trying."
Overall, Thirty Miles West sounds like the record Alan Jackson has been making since his debut in 1989. For anyone else, that might not be a compliment.
- "Dixie Highway" (preview/download)
- "Long Way to Go" (preview/download)
- "So You Don't Have to Love Me Anymore" (preview/download)
Track List for Thirty Miles West
- "Gonna Come Back as a Country Song"
- "You Go Your Way"
- "Everything but the Wings"
- "Talk Is Cheap"
- "So You Don't Have to Love Me Anymore"
- "Look Her in the Eye and Lie"
- "Dixie Highway" (featuring Zac Brown)
- "She Don't Get High"
- "Her Life's a Song"
- "Nothin' Fancy"
- "Long Way to Go"
- "Life Keeps Bringing Me Down"
- "When I Saw You Leaving (For Nisey)"
Release Date: June 5, 2012