After 15 years of thinking about it, country superstar Alan Jackson decided to get down to business and record his dream project. “I think you could take a lot of the songs I wrote and recorded on my albums and convert it over to bluegrass, and you wouldn’t know the difference,” the traditional country singer said. One example of that is “Let’s Get Back To Me And You” from his 2008 CD, Who I Am.
The Bluegrass Album is a 14-song collection that covers another country traditionalist, John Anderson, with “Wild And Blue.” Jackson puts his own creative spin on The Dillards’ classic “There Is A Time,” while striving to stay true to Bill Monroe’s original version of “Blue Moon Of Kentucky.” What is especially appealing about this disc is the new material that Jackson wrote like “Appalachian Mountain Girl,” “Blue Ridge Mountain Song,” and one of his favorites, “Long Hard Road.” I’ve felt the hurt, broken heart inside me/I’ve felt the joy of love unchained/I’ve seen the rain wash away a mountain/Like tears have washed away my pain.
Kudos to Jackson, too, for turning to bluegrass pickers and singers to make the CD come alive. Ronnie Bowman and Don Rigsby nail the background vocals, while sessions pickers include Adam Steffey (mandolin), Tim Crouch (fiddle), Rob Ickes (resonator guitar), Sammy Shelor (banjo), Tim Dishman (bass), and Scott Coney (acoustic guitar). “I wanted to try to make it as authentic as I could to show my appreciation for the music,” Jackson humbly said of his new album. Mission accomplished. (ACR/EMI Records, 3322 West End Ave., Nashville, TN 37212, www.emimusic.com.)BC