Amiable country singer and songwriter Alan Jackson has been talking for ages about his wish to make a straight bluegrass album. That’s the reason he signed on for Alison Krauss to produce his 2006 album, “Like Red on a Rose,” one of his strongest collections, but one that veered far afield from traditional bluegrass.
Not this time — there’s nothing but earthy, lonesome music-making on Jackson’s “The Bluegrass Album.” It boasts all the requisite fiddle, mandolin, banjo, dobro, acoustic guitar, upright bass and sweet bending harmonies that define bluegrass.
Jackson and album producers Keith Stegall and Adam Wright infuse a back-porch feel in original numbers here and savvy selections from other writers, including Jackson’s new spin on John Anderson’s 1982 hit “Wild and Blue” and Adam Wright’s sharply witty “Ain’t Got Trouble Now.”
Among his own contributions, Jackson’s “Blue Ridge Mountain Song” and “Blue Side of Heaven” demonstrate his understanding of themes that are central to bluegrass: the knowledge that life is hard, but the human spirit can rise above.
Albums are rated on a scale of four stars (excellent), three stars (good), two stars (fair) and one star (poor).
“The Bluegrass Album”