Release Date: Mar 30, 2010
Record label: Arista
The key to longevity is changing things up. Alan Jackson knows this. After the flashy variety show Good Time in 2008, he has brought us a more low-key LP, in the vein of 2006’s Like Red on a Rose, but instead of mood-lighting and jazz it’s the open road and truck-stop country cassettes. Of 2010’s mainstream, will-sell-big country albums, so far Freight Train is the one most likely to be called “traditionalist” in every review.
Nashville’s a different town than it was in the ’90s, but to borrow one of Freight Train‘s many hackneyed metaphors, Alan Jackson remains predictable as the sunrise every morning. So it’s time for another round of country music madlibs, and with the exception of ”After 17” — an awkward ode to a teenaged lass who’s ”not a woman, not a girl” — the results float comfortably in the haze of Jackson’s 20 year career. If you hate surprises, he’s your guy.
Freight Train, Alan Jackson’s 16th album, has none of the momentum of a locomotive but all of the reassuring sturdiness of a hulking piece of steel: this is music built for distance, not speed. Appropriately, not much on Freight Train moves all that fast -- there is a bit of a skipping gait to the title track -- and nothing hits that hard; it all rolls along comfortably, never pushing at the edges of Jackson’s comfort zone. More than ever, the singer sounds like part of the old guard, willfully ignoring anything modern or rocking, preferring to sing swaying ballads and pay tribute to Vern Gosdin via a cover of “Till the End.
ALAN JACKSON“Freight Train”(Arista Nashville) Over the last decade the country star Alan Jackson, who even at his most pugnacious possessed a parental sort of certainty, has only become stiller. Maybe it was 9/11, which prompted “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning),” one of his ….
Label swansong finds country superstar marking time. Ninian Dunnett 2010 After 20 years and 50 million album sales, Alan Jackson stands for just about everything that makes people huffy about mainstream country: pedal steel guitar, oom-pah bass lines, check-shirt fables and barefaced sentimentality. Listen to a Jackson song, though, and you’re hearing something that tells millions of ‘ordinary’ Americans about themselves.