Country mainstay Alan Jackson is marking the 30th anniversary of signing his first record contract, on 26 June 1989, with Arista Nashville. To celebrate the landmark, a newly-produced documentary is released this week on DVD. Alan Jackson: Small Town Southern Man features interviews with such friends, admirers and fellow stars as Carrie Underwood, Alison Krauss and Lee Ann Womack, as well as rarely-seen performances and interview footage with Jackson himself.
Jackson’s stellar career shows no sign of slowing down, as he continues to play to sellout arena audiences across the US. The 16-time CMA Award-winner is also writing and recording new music, to follow his most recent single, 2017’s ‘The Older I Get.’
Jackson is also revelling in his new role as an entrepreneur, as the owner and creative force behind AJ’s Good Time Bar. The venue is one of the first artist-named honky tonks in the popular downtown district of Nashville, and the only one solely-owned by a country star.
The Country Music Hall of Fame, Songwriters Hall of Fame and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee has amassed more than 150 nominations from the Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association. His combined 35 awards from those two institutions include three for CMA Entertainer of the Year. Only four other artists in history have won as many.
“When I came here, I wanted to carry on the tradition of real hard-core country music,” said Jackson in the early years of his success. “And I’d like to stay that way. It isn’t easy to keep your feet on the ground. You get separated from working people, from real life.
“You know who the real fans are,” he continued. “They’re just good people, and that’s where I come from. They love music, and they don’t care about all this music business; they don’t understand all that. They just know if they like it or not. And what I intend to do is give ’em what they want – something real.”
A newly-created exhibit is now on display in Jackson’s home town of Newnan, Georgia. The museum-quality display can be seen by visitors to the Coweta County Visitors Centre, located in the town’s 1904 courthouse. One block away, there’s a new mural that also celebrates the star’s preeminence: a two-story image of Jackson covering the side of a building at 11 North Court Square. This was commissioned by the city and was created over the last several months.