Alan Jackson has recorded well over 20 albums in his storied career. One of the greatest aspects of that span is there isn’t one disc that you can say outranks the others in quality. For the most part, Jackson has been very steady as a recording artist over the years. Unless you are a Jackson expert, you could take cuts from Don’t Rock The Jukebox (1991), Who I Am (1994), and Everything I Love (1996), mix them up – and nobody could tell you the difference.
That last statement is very much meant as a compliment, with only his Like Red On A Rose (2006) album being much of a departure in his hard country sound. For his latest disc, Angels and Alcohol, Jackson raises his game somewhat with an album that you could definitely put in those iconic sets from the 1990s.
Kicking off with the 90s sounding “You Can Always Come Home,” Jackson sounds as traditional as ever. He turns up the tempo a little bit on “You Never Know,” and you are off to the races with a disc that has to rank among his best.
At the same time, there are a few songs that are a little different (Nope, Jackson’s not going “Bro” or anything like that!). Take a performance like “Gone Before You Met Me.” I don’t know how to describe it, other than to say it’s very unique. Is it in the same league as “Here In The Real World” or “Livin’ On Love?” It might seem blasphemous to say that…but there’s something about the song that resonated with me. Maybe it’s the wordplay, but it’s one of his most enjoyable cuts in a long time. Another winner is the moving “When God Paints,” which is the kind of song that might not have worked as well on a Jackson album from 1995. But, having gone through a lot of living…and love since then…he can put the lyrics across in a way that he might not have been able to back then!
All told, there isn’t a cut of album filler on this disc. Whether it be the Haggard flavor of “I Leave A Light One” or the Jones-inspired honky-tonk of “Jim and Jack and Hank,” the set’s first single…this is some fine music that deserves a chance at radio…similar to latter-year Haggard or Jones albums as Chill Factor and Wine Colored Roses, respectively. To sum it up, Angels and Alcohol is like that familiar pair of shoes in the corner that you’re just not going to throw away anytime soon – and that’s a good thing!
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Alan Jackson Angels and Alcohol
Alan Jackson, Angels and Alcohol Track Listing:
1. “You Can Always Come Home”
2. “You Never Know”
3. “Angels and Alcohol”
4. “Gone Before You Met Me”
5. “The One You’re Waiting On”
6. “Jim and Jack and Hank”
7. “I Leave a Light On”
9. “When God Paints”
10. “Mexico, Tequila and Me”