“It’s been way too long since you slipped away/I just can’t forget, I can’t pretend it’s OK,” Alan Jackson sings in his new song “Where Have You Gone.” It could easily be about the lover who left him, but he quickly lays bare the subject of his lament: country music itself.
“Soft steel guitar, oh how I’ve missed you/words from the heart, let me hear you again,” Jackson sings in “Where Have You Gone,” the weeping steel-and-fiddle title track of his just announced new album. Due May 14th, Where Have You Gone is the Country Music Hall of Fame member’s first album of original material in six years.
Along with the melancholy “Where Have You Gone,” Jackson released two more songs on Friday. “Way Down in My Whiskey” is a brown-liquor remedy for trying to forget an ex, while “Things That Matter” questions the things in life that make us happy.
Jackson wrote 15 of the album’s 21 songs, and records others written by songwriters like Hailey Whitters, Daniel Tashian, and Scotty Emerick. He also covers “That’s the Way Love Goes” in remembrance of Merle Haggard.
In a statement, Jackson says the album is undeniably country music. “It’s a little harder country than even I’ve done in the past,” he says. “Real country songs are life and love and heartache, drinking and Mama and having a good time…but it’s the sounds of the instruments, too. The steel and acoustic guitar, the fiddle – those things have a sound and a tone…and getting that right, the way those things make you feel, that’s country, too.”
Here’s the track list for Where Have You Gone:
1. “Where Have You Gone” (Alan Jackson)
2. “Wishful Drinkin’” (Alan Jackson)
3. “I Can Be That Something” (Alan Jackson)
4. “Where the Cottonwood Grows” (Alan Jackson)
5. “Way Down In My Whiskey” (Alan Jackson)
6. “Things That Matter” (Robert Keith Stegall, Michael White)
7. “Livin’ On Empty” (Alan Jackson)
8. “You’ll Always Be My Baby (Written for Daughters’ Weddings)” (Alan Jackson)
9. “Where Her Heart Has Always Been (Written for Mama’s funeral with an old recording of her reading from The Bible)” (Alan
10. “The Boot” (Adam Wright)
11. “Back” (Alan Jackson)
12. “Write It In Red” (Alan Jackson)
13. “So Late So Soon” (Scotty Emerick, Daniel Tashian, Sarah Buxton)
14. “This Heart Of Mine” (Adam Wright)
15. “A Man Who Never Cries” (Alan Jackson)
16. “Chain” (Alan Jackson)
17. “I Was Tequila” (Alan Jackson)
18. “I Do (Written for Daughters’ Weddings)” (Alan Jackson)
19. “Beer:10” (Alan Jackson)
20. “The Older I Get”* (Hailey Whitters, Adam Wright, Sarah Turner)
Extra Track: “That’s The Way Love Goes” (A Tribute to Merle Haggard) (Lefty Frizzell, Whitey Shafer)