An advocate for the "little man," country singer/songwriter Alan Eugene Jackson (1958-) was born on this day in the small town of Newnan, Georgia, the youngest of five. His parents bought him a $50 guitar when he was 16.
"The only thing I remember is my mother always singing to us. She didn't have the greatest voice, but she always sang those old songs like Would You Like To Swing On A Star?" he recalled.
Inspired by the music of Hank Williams, Jackson moved to Nashville at age 27, wrote songs for Glen Campbell's music publishing company. In 1990, he released his debut album, Here In The Real World, which featured the hit Blue Blooded Woman.
His deft writing, while someimes lighthearted and self-deprecating, epitomized the solid country music values of faith, country, and family. Taking pride in keeping things simple and honest, he once said, "Music to me is more entertainment than a medium for politics."
Inspired by the tragedy of 9/11, Jackson wrote the moving anthem, Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning). "I was probably depressed about the tragedies, and then I was thinking what I did for a living wasn't worth a lot. The song helped me deal with that."
About his 2004 album, What I Do, Jackson said, "My wife said every song I write has either food or cars in it...I said, 'I write about what I like.'"
And what better way to strike a universal chord with his audience?
Stay focused on the job at hand.