Alan Jackson Shelved an Album After the Deaths of His Mom and Son-in-Law
Alan Jackson's upcoming studio album, Where Have You Gone, takes inspiration from the singer's personal family life. "I Do" and "You'll Always Be My Baby," two songs he wrote for his daughters' weddings, are included, as well as one called "Where Her Heart's Always Been" which he originally wrote for his mother's funeral following her death in 2017.
Despite the fact that Where Have You Gone is so personal, real-life events haven't always driven Jackson to make music. His new album is his first in six years — a period of family tragedy actually kept him from releasing new projects for a couple of years.
After losing his mom, Jackson experienced another personal loss just a year later: In 2018, his son-in-law, Ben Selecman, died as the result of a traumatic injury after a fall. Selecman, who was just 28 years old at the time, was married to Jackson's daughter, Mattie.
At the time, Jackson had been at work on a new album, but he shelved that project, the country legend reveals in a statement. In the wake of so much loss, he "didn't really feel like making music for a couple years."
Fortunately, he'll finally break his silence with Where Have You Gone, a collection that promises to carry the torch for traditional country with songs like the newly-released title track, a plaintive ode to the good ol' days of the genre. For Jackson, storytelling inspired by his real family life and personal memories goes hand-in-hand with making authentic country music.
"When I write, I visualize back home and growing up," he explains. "I say this: 'Real country songs are life and love and heartache, drinking and Mama and having a good time, kinda like that David Allan Coe song.' But it's the sound of the instruments, too. The steel and acoustic guitar, the fiddle, those things have a sound and a tone — and getting that right, the way those things make you feel, that's country, too."
Where Have You Gone is due for release on May 14, 2021. It'll be Jackson's first album since Angels & Alcohol, which came out in 2015.
Country Stars Who Suffered Unthinkable Tragedy
See Alan Jackson Through the Years: Country as All Get Out!