Country music superstar performs at Carnegie Hall

by Bradley Hartsell

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Alan Jackson performs at a recent concert while on tour in Melbourne, Australia.

At 55 years of age, and 24 years into a music career, most artists are living the glory days, not adding to their legacy. Alan Jackson isn’t like most artists, though.

The Newnan born and raised Jackson is one of the defining artists in the history of country music, and on Monday, he played at Carnegie Hall in New York City, the world’s most famous concert hall, for the first time since 2005.

Jackson is touring in support of “The Bluegrass Album,” his latest album, released in late September. “The Bluegrass Album” has spent four consecutive weeks at No. 1 in Billboard’s bluegrass charts, marking yet another commercial success for Jackson, now on his 19th studio album.

According to Jackson’s website, he and his eight-piece band rolled through a complete bluegrass set, despite hollers for old favorites like “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” and “Remember When.” Jackson did play his 9/11 tribute, “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning),” which received a standing ovation, it is noted on his website.

“I’ve played the Beacon Theater, Radio City, Madison Square Garden, CBGBs,” he said, according to his site. “It’s amazing for an ol’ boy from Georgia who never traveled anywhere till I was 25.”

The night also honored Jackson’s country music hero and friend, George Jones, who passed away on April 26, doing “Blue Side of Heaven.”

Jackson even brought out Lee Ann Womack for a surprise performance, with Jackson citing Womack as one of his favorite artists. For Jackson, Carnegie Hall could be the crown jewel of a project Jackson has clearly taken an affinity to. He has stated multiple times “The Bluegrass Album” is one he’s been wanting to make for 15 years. The idea that it’s a passion project rings even truer considering the lack of bluegrass in mainstream music. Jackson didn’t cut “The Bluegrass Album” to cash in on fad, but because this is the album he wanted to make.

The results are someone who appears to still be loving what he’s doing and, as he told the audience in New York, was a little nervous about taking the stage. Jackson has also succeeded on his ear for a good tune and his indispensable charm. Even though bluegrass might be the last thing on people’s minds these days, Jackson showed he has the ability to connect to people no matter what songs he’s playing.

Jackson performed for two hours in Carnegie Hall, telling stories about his life and his growing up in Coweta County, where much of his family still lives today.



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