You’d think having so many awards and accolades would slow you down a bit, but not with Alan Jackson. He happily continues to release new material, and seems to love music now just as much as when he first started. Angels and Alcohol is again a contemporary effort born out of country past, and reminds us why the fans love the way he sticks to his roots.
The record eases the listener in with You Can Always Come Home; a slow acoustic beginning leads into a heart-warming tale of always having someone to rely on. This is country perfection and a fitting start to the record. The One You’re Waiting On shows off the skill and humility of Jackson, as again he bathes us with that classic sound of country, showing so much more love and attention than recent pop crossover artists. Basic guitar and drums intertwine with Jackson crooning his heart out over the top.
You Never Know harks back to Jackson’s honky-tonk country sound with its fast pace and attitude to boot. He even brings out his side that loves women as he sings: ‘chicken leg girl, freckles on her face, stringy blonde hair and a 20 inch waist’. This doesn’t sound as seedy as it seems when sung by Jackson, who somehow manages to get away with it when placed in the musical wonderland of the track.
Add on top the real slow burner of I Leave A Light On that grows into its own skin, and then the simplicity and worldly wonder of When God Paints, and you’ve got a real plethora of gorgeousness throughout the record.
The album self-titled track Angels and Alcohol tops off the pleasantness, being a country ballad full of sweet feelings and minimal instrumentation, allowing the lyrics and vocals to really stand out. When this is set against a punishing slide guitar pushing you along till the end, it makes for a cracking piece of music.
Jackson has shown why he’s still hailed as one of the greats with Angels and Alcohol. He doesn’t try and be different, he doesn’t try to be clever, and he’s just himself. This counts for a lot, and it shines though in the music like a beacon in the night sky. Jackson has once again proven that classic country is the best country.