What was originally intended as a Christmas gift for his mother will soon become a treat for all of Alan Jackson's fans.

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 this week 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.)

"My mother kept asking me, 'When are you going to do a gospel album?' And I've always wanted to do a gospel album," Jackson says, adding that his mother's urging intensified when he sang a hymn at his father-in-law's funeral last year. "Everybody was going on about it, so mom started hounding me more."

Jackson finally relented and entered the studio with longtime producer Keith Stegall. "We had about 30 songs," Jackson says. "I picked some I thought my mom would really like and some I liked. We went in with piano and acoustic guitar, and overdubbed organ on some of them, and a couple harmony vocals. We were just really loose with it."