Country superstar Alan Jackson admits that the urge to do something musically different on his new album may have been fueled by a comment Vince Gill made while introducing him at the CMA Awards a couple of years back.
“I don’t know if the script writer wrote it, but he said, ‘You always know what you’re going to get from Alan Jackson. It’s like driving through McDonald’s,'” Jackson tells Billboard. “I think he meant it as a compliment, but it kind of made me feel like ‘Dang, McDonald’s, man! I don’t want to be like every time somebody buys an album, they are getting just another quarter-pounder with cheese.'”
As such, Jackson stretches out creatively on “Like Red on a Rose,” due Sept. 26 via Arista. The set was produced by Alison Krauss, whose criteria for choosing songs to record was simple: “If I were sitting across from a man, what would I want to hear him say?”
One song written specifically for the project was “The Fire Fly’s Song,” which she describes as “a grown man looking at how you do things when you are younger and how you don’t do those things anymore. You make other choices now that are much wiser choices.”
“Like Red on a Rose” is the first album Jackson has recorded without his longtime producer Keith Stegall. Jackson enjoyed working with Krauss, calling her approach “easy and organized,” but says he’s not finished working with Stegall.
“I love Keith,” he says. “We’ve made a lot of great music together, there’s nothing against him. It started because we wanted to do a bluegrass album, and I asked Alison to do it because Keith isn’t really a bluegrass producer … then, of course, it evolved into this. But I’m not abandoning Keith, and I think we’ll make some more great country records together.”