Once upon a time, the kings of country music were titans: larger-than-life men with unmistakable voices and names like Hank, George, Willie and Waylon. The y sang about wrestling with demons, and character flaws big enough to drive a Peterbilt through.
Probably the worst you can say about Alan, who won more country awards last year than anyone, is that he spends more time away from his family than he'd like.
He addresses that dilemma in "Job Description," one of 13 songs on Jackson's fourth pleasant-but-still-lightweight album. What few demons he encounters he doesn't wrestle; he just tips his Stetson politely before moseying on his way.
Occasionally he reaches beyond the most superficial emotions. His own "You Can't Give Up on Love" delivers a message as simple as its title, but its basic honesty works. And Rodney Crowell's "Song for the Life" gives listeners something to ponder, not just something to hum along to.
As for the titular question of who he is? That's obvious: a nice guy who sings nice songs and who probably will keep selling and winning awards by the truckload.
New albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).