Sunday, February 12, 2006

Alan Jackson following in Charlie's footsteps

Country artist Alan Jackson takes gospel turn: What was originally intended as a Christmas gift for his mother will soon become a treat for all of Alan Jackson ‘s fans.

"Precious Memories," due February 28 on ACR/Arista Nashville, is a highly personal effort for the country superstar.

A collection of vintage hymns that the Georgia native grew up singing in church, "Precious Memories" features 15 of Jackson‘s favorite classics in an intimate, acoustic setting. The famously private entertainer even has his wife, Denise, and daughters Mattie and Ali join him on "‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus." (Jackson says daughter Dani chickened out when it came to singing, but gets a credit for "assistant background vocals" for retrieving her dad a bottle of water.)

In the ‘60s and ‘70s, country artists frequently recorded gospel songs or entire gospel albums, but then the practice seemed to fall out of favor. In recent years, more country acts have returned to singing about their faith. Brad Paisley puts a gospel song on every album.
Charlie Daniels, Billy Ray Cyrus and Anne Murray have released Christian collections, and Randy Travis has recorded several Christian albums for Word Records, one of which spawned the multi-award-winning hit 'Three Wooden Crosses.'

Most of these efforts, like Jackson‘s, project a deeply personal feel. That is enhanced on 'Precious Memories' by the photographs Jackson himself took for the CD package, using a timer to capture his own image in front of a little country church.

'I just decided that I‘d take my own dang pictures,' he says. 'So I went over to a little church that I go by sometimes, and I took a couple pictures. I also took (pictures of) this old Bible that we had at the house. I like the old-looking stuff.'

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