I’ve been a fan of Alan Jackson for quite a while. It’s funny, because some people might not even be aware that I am even into country music. But hey, I am from Indiana. I also have family in Kentucky. So growing up, country music was hard to get away from. I remember being in my dad’s shop (he was a self-employed cabinetmaker and had a workshop), and he would have the local country radio station playing a lot of the time. So growing up, I heard a lot of country music, and I just kind of took it along with me. I’ve been into it off and on since I was a kid. It’s not always my primary genre of music, but definitely something that I listen to when I’m in the right mood.
The country artists I’m into the most are probably the somewhat epic ones from the 80s and 90s, since that is when I was listening to country music the most. Singers and bands like Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Randy Travis, Alabama, Tim McGraw, and of course, Alan Jackson. If I remember correctly, I think he was my cousin Debbie’s favorite country singer. When my family would visit our relatives in Kentucky, we would stay with my aunt (who loved Vince Gill) and uncle, and Debbie would always let me hang out with her and her daughter Tina, who was only a year younger than me. Sadly, Debbie passed away from breast cancer a few years ago. But memories like spending time with her are one reason I still love country music. The Tracy Lawrence song “If the World Had a Front Porch” totally reminds me of this part of my family. We used to spend days and evenings hanging out on my aunt and uncle’s front porch when we were there. It may make me sound old, but days definitely were simpler then.
When I found out Alan Jackson was going to be in Phoenix this year, I decided I had to buy tickets for myself and Ricky. Oh yeah, he likes country music too. I think it’s part of coming from a small town or rural town in Indiana. He’s from Brazil and I’m from Lebanon (the towns in Indiana, of course, not the countries). Anyway, we are both fans of Alan Jackson. I’m not sure what country music fan that’s been listening for more than a few years wouldn’t be. He’s kind of a big deal.
Knowing that I’d be going to see him, I listened to some of his music for a while in advance. It brought back some memories and made me remember some of the songs I’d loved as a kid. I think my favorite song of his is “Chattahoochee”. I mean, it’s just fun to say, and a fun song to sing. So of course I was ready and very excited when we got to the concert venue last Saturday. And I was not disappointed. He opened up with “Gone Country”, a perfect song to start the evening with. And while he did sing some newer stuff, a lot of what he played were the favorites I remembered, including “Wanted”, “Summertime Blues”, “Don’t Rock the Jukebox”, “Little Bitty”, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere”, and of course, my favorite, “Chattahoochee”. He closed out the night with “Mercury Blues”.
One thing Ricky picked up on pretty quickly in the show is that Alan (or should I refer to him as Mr. Jackson?) likes to point. Like, a LOT. He points so many times in every song. It’s kind of funny. I’m sure it’s just his thing, but Ricky found it pretty amusing. It became a running joke throughout the night.
Say what you will about country music, but I really think it does better than most forms of music at holding up over time. Alan Jackson’s “Keepin’ It Country” tour, the show we went to see, is his 25th Anniversary tour. How many artists in other genres of music do you know that have been successful for that long? I think for a lot of people his songs evoke a lot of emotions, and like me, a lot of memories of different times in our lives. It was fun to see him live with Ricky and get a chance to enjoy some music that has meant a lot to me over the years and to have a chance to wander down memory lane for a bit. I’m glad I got the opportunity to see one of the most epic country singers of our time.
(Oh, and did I mention that he has the same birthday as me? Just a different year…)