Picks and Pans Review: Under the Influence
Alan Jackson (Arista/Nashville)
While it sounds like a drinkin’ album, the “influence” of the title has to do with singers whose impact Jackson wanted to acknowledge. So these 12 delightful tracks include Charley Pride’s “Kiss an Angel Good Morning,” John Anderson’s-“She Just Started Liking Cheatin’ Songs,” and Merle Haggard’s “The Way I Am” “and “My Own Kind of Hat.” Jimmy Buffett even turns up to duet on his signature song, “Margaritaville.”
Jackson’s well-placed admiration for his musical mentors even led him to enlist Hargus “Pig” Robbins, Nashville’s preeminent studio keyboard player, on these recordings (as he did on many of the originals), which helps bolster the collegial feeling of the project. Robbins and steel-guitar mainstay Paul Franklin make things more melodious, as they always do. Those honored should feel rightly proud.
Bottom Line: Thank goodness for performers with a sense of history