Latin Music Week

Alan Jackson Jokes About Latest Single: 'Jim & Jack Have Definitely Been Good Friends to Me'

Kristy Belcher
Alan Jackson

Friday (July 17) marks the release of Angels and Alcohol, the first studio album for Alan Jackson since 2013's The Bluegrass Sessions. The country icon has led off the album with the first single, "Jim and Jack and Hank," which is currently sitting at No. 56 on the Country Airplay chart.

Of the song -- one of seven he wrote -- he tells Billboard "That's just a fun and light approach to a heavy subject where someone is leaving the other one. The guy has really had enough, and he tells her that he's not worried about her leaving because he's got Jim [Beam] and Jack [Daniels] and Hank [Williams]." He said writing the song was an enjoyable experience, if not a little bit autobiographical in its own right. "It was a fun song to write. Jim and Jack have definitely been good friends to me for a long time," he said with a laugh.

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On the other hand of the lyrical spectrum, there's the stunningly inspirational "When God Paints." As an artist not afraid to sing about his faith, Jackson said it's very much a part of his personal life. "I think you go through a lot of experiences in life that twist you and change you, but that's life. I definitely look at things from a different perspective than I did when I was 25 years old. That's a good thing. My faith has always been a huge part of my life, and [wife] Denise has been a huge influence on that." Though it's one of three songs Jackson didn't have a hand in writing, the singer said expressing his faith is something that has always been important to him. "That has always been a part of my music, from all the way back to the beginning. With country music, that's one attraction I've always had -- is that it does touch that part of our lives with songs that are connected to church and God. It's been that way forever. Hank Williams Sr. wrote and recorded a lot of great Christian stuff, as well as Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley, so it's always been a part of it."

Another song the Georgia native wrote is the humorous "Flaws." When asked what some of his flaws were that he didn't mind discussing, he slyly said, "We don't have enough time to get into all of them. I've got a lot of 'em -- some physical, some character-related. Somebody else could give you a better example. I'm kind of quirky. I try to make up my flaws with maybe some good qualities, I hope."

Jackson's first single, 1989's "Blue Blooded Woman," was released by Arista on 45 RPM vinyl to radio, and now his music can be found via digital download. With that said, just how digitally savvy is he? "I'm not that sharp with it, but I'm also not stupid," he admits. "I can use the computer pretty good, but don't really do much on it except look for cars and boats. I don't write on a computer. I still write it down on paper if I'm going to write a song or something like that. I have an iPhone, but I don't really text that much. When I do, they are just short ones or abbreviated words if I have to text. I don't do it that much. I don't even like talking on the phone, let alone texting. But, I can use all of that. I still listen to CD's most of the time, but I do have some music on the phone."

Though he has placed over 60 singles in the top-40 on the country singles chart, it has been six years since he has cracked the top-ten as a solo artist (2009's "Sissy's Song"), Jackson says there's not really a lot of worry about chart numbers anymore. "There's not really a lot of pressure," he admits. "I've kind of relaxed all of that. I've been so lucky. If I get airplay on a new song, I'm happy, and the fans are glad, but if not, that's all right too. I've had a lot of air time out there, and a lot of recurrent time on the old stuff. It's hard for radio to fit it all in, and I like playing the new stuff as well," he surmises.