There've been plenty of Sept. 11 songs already, and there'll undoubtedly be plenty more. But up to now, there's been only one song that captured the spirit of the nation, without sounding schmaltzy or jingoistic, and that's Alan Jackson's unforgettable ballad “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning).”
The song, which the singer recently premiered at the Country Music Association awards, is the centerpiece of Jackson's exceptional new album Drive.
With its evocative images of ordinary people across the nation first learning of the attacks, the song quickly soared to No. 1 on country charts. It's featured here twice, with the studio version complemented by the slightly slower and more poignant live take from the CMA Awards.
That song alone would probably be enough reason to buy this disc, but the 11 other tracks provide plenty of other reasons why the Georgia-born Jackson remains one of country's most eloquent ambassadors.
He wrote nine of the songs on the set, including the nostalgic ode to his late father, “Drive (For Daddy Gene),” the amusing, fiddle-fired saga about a far from perfect husband, “Work in Progress,” and the steel-splashed breakup ballad “The Sounds.”
There's a lot of country music going in a lot of different directions these days, but thankfully Jackson is holding the line. Drive is a smart, straight, pure country gem.
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