For a quarter of a century, Alan Jackson has held tight to the tenets of traditional country music, releasing his 15th studio LP, Angels and Alcohol, earlier this year. His second for Alan’s Country Records/EMI Nashville, the album was his 14th Number One. Now, the Georgia native’s former label, Arista Nashville, and Legacy Recordings are readying a career-spanning three-CD set for release early next month. Genuine: The Alan Jackson Story, which will mix classic hits and rarities, including eight previously unreleased tracks, will be available exclusively through Walmart beginning Friday, November 6th.
A vast collection of 59 key cuts from throughout Jackson’s towering career, the package includes a previously unavailable live version of Steve Young’s “Seven Bridges Road” (made famous by the Eagles) recorded in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1997. Other rarities include a live rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner,” recorded in 2001, “Born Too Late,” “If Tears Could Talk” and “Love Is Hard.”
“Love Is Hard,” one of many penned by the artist, was recorded during the making of 2008’s Good Time LP but unreleased until now. It’s classic Jackson fare and would have been a strong contender for a hit single at the time. Kicking off with spirited fiddle and a pounding beat, the lyrics have Jackson reasoning that “you can blame it on the whiskey, you can blame it on money/You can blame it on fate or time/or the fact that she ain’t funny.” (Listen to the song below.)
Country music’s quintessential everyman, Jackson has logged 50 Top Ten hits since his 1989 debut LP, Here in the Real World. Born in Newnan, Georgia, Jackson and his high-school sweetheart, Denise Jackson, married in 1979 and moved to Nashville, where the singer worked a day job in the mailroom at TNN (the Nashville Network). The first artist signed to the Arista Nashville label, Jackson released a string of albums produced by Keith Stegall, which nearly all topped the country chart, including a pair of gospel LPs, a bluegrass collection and the Alison Krauss-produced Like Red on a Rose, a stylistic departure that contained just one of his own compositions. A staggering 26 of his hits have topped the Billboard charts since his first, “I’d Love You All Over Again,” in 1991.
In addition to the three-disc collection, Genuine: The Alan Jackson Story contains a booklet featuring tributes to the artist from many of his musical peers, including Kenny Chesney, Alison Krauss, Martina McBride, George Strait, Steven Tyler, Carrie Underwood, Lee Ann Womack and the late George Jones. A special poster features a panoramic shot of the entire visual exhibit from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s “Alan Jackson: 25 Years of Keepin’ It Country” retrospective.
Genuine: The Alan Jackson Story is currently available for pre-order at Walmart.com.