Alan Jackson Goes Long
A glowing Alan Jackson joked of his reputation as a man of few words – "I’m not really shy, I’m just kind of socially awkward," he said – at the top of an uncharacteristically lengthy acceptance speech that brought laughs and left wet eyes across the house. Over the course of 13 minutes, and in his plainspoken, wise man's baritone, Jackson recalled how Nashville radio legend Gerry House used to lovingly make fun of lines like "'Til the transom got rotten," a boat-parts reference on Jackson's 2002 country Number One "Drive (For Daddy Gene)." "That’s what I know and that’s what I write about," the singer, and former car salesman, said. "I came to Nashville to be a singer because I loved cars and I couldn’t really buy any." Jackson recognized the roles fellow legends and friends from George Jones to Randy Travis had on influencing him when he started his career in 1985 as bar busker and demo singer, before going on to sell more than 60 million albums. He also recalled the CMA's response to his infamous 1999 awards appearance, when he went off script with an unplanned performance of Jones' "Choices," in response to Jones only getting 90 seconds of TV time on the broadcast. "They told me when I sang that 'Choices' thing I’d never be back on the CMA again," Jackson recalled with a humble grin.