The cold couldn’t keep fans from pouring into the KFC YUM Center this past Friday night. As the first stop on Alan Jackson’s 2019 tour, a SOLD OUT show to be exact, Alan’s tour kicked off in Louisville and will wrap up in September in Jacksonville, Florida. On this tour, Alan has brought along some friends to help share the stage with. William Michael Morgan accompanied the Country Music Hall of Famer, along with some special talent, James Carothers, that Alan has had his eye on after playing at his Nashville bar – AJ’s Bar and Grill.
James Carothers took to the stage sporting a white cowboy hat, a cut off plaid button down, and all the while his six string draped across his shoulder. James strummed his guitar and belted out the lyrics of Willie Nelson’s “On The Road Again”. A modern day outlaw country artist bringing back what made country music as profound as it became. The sound James brings to the stage is that of raw power. James also performed original material as well as some of the most iconic songs including “Momma Tried”, and “I Don’t Need Your Rocking Chair”; all along giving a honorable nod to those that have inspired him to keep the traditional music alive. “Back To Hank” is written by James and is as outlaw as it gets! This guy brings the twang of classic country with a mix of the violin and steel guitar.
Then came an array of boisterous claps and cheers from fans as the video on the big screen gave introduction to William Michael Morgan by Blake Shelton, Cole Swindell and numerous others. William walked to the center stage and showed that “real country” is alive. William, 25 years old, rocked the rowdy crowd to their feet with every song he played. He performed, from his latest album, “Vinyl”, “Missing”, and his biggest hit to date, “I Met A Girl”. The fun and upbeat energy from tune,”Workin'”, was felt through out as fans were dancing with their beers held high, singing along to every word.
William Michael Morgan looks to be one of the few who are determined to keep real country in today’s modernizing Nashville. A traditional style with a unique sound, William has the talent to become the next new face of country music.
The party didn’t slow down as fans went for more beer to prepare for the show of a life time. Alan Jackson’s list of accolades is stand alone impressive. He has received eighteen Academy of Country Music awards, sixteen Country Music Association awards, and a pair of Grammy’s to his name. Alan is also a Country Music Hall of Fame member and an inductee of the Singer Songwriters Hall of Fame, a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
The lights dropped and the video that rolled featured Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, George Strait, and the possum George Jones giving personal thoughts and introductions of the hit-maker. The Strayhorns, Alan’s band, took their respectful places on stage and armed themselves with instruments to entertain. The sound of the deafening fans screaming and hollering, greeted Alan as he walked towards the center of the stage waving and giving thanks in the humblest of ways.
Alan Jackson held NOTHING back as he gave the concertgoers more that their money’s worth with an anthology of songs in his arsenal. Very few seats were filled through out the night given fans were swaying and singing along to each and every song. On the screen behind Alan displayed music videos to these songs, and live video of fans of all ages creating lasting memories.
Alan pulled up a bar stool to create an intimate atmosphere with himself and the sold out crowd. He opened up and gave insight to the unfortunate down fall of his first single that hit radio, and was facing the realization that he may have to go back to work if things didn’t happen for him soon. Well with the release of his second single “Here in the Real World” Alan said “I haven’t worked since”.
Hit after hit, Alan Jackson kept the energy going with up tempo hits such as “Chattahoochee”, “Drive”, “Who’s Cheating Who”, “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere”, and “Don’t Rock The Jukebox”. These had everyone singing along and dancing. Slowing it down from time to time Alan performed slower tunes such as one of the biggest country love songs “Remember When”, and another crows favorite: “Blues Man”. My personal favorite of the night has to be “The Older I Get”, which is the latest single by Alan. He mentioned that he has an album in the works and this song with be featured on it.
Real country music isn’t about flashy lights and smoke, nor is it about running around stage. With a voice so distinctive, Jackson needed no flash. He had the style of a gentleman and an assembled band of veteran instrumentalist. From the first strum of a chord to the moment the lights went dark, Alan Jackson showed why he has had a career in country music that has topped the charts for three decades.
Below the powder white cowboy hat is a country legend who is proud of what he stands for. The sense of pride he takes in his music is refreshing and sincere. He thanked fans continuously for the love and undying devotion they showed with their yells and screams of support throughout the night. This was truly an unforgettable performance witnessing Alan Jackson unveil the stories behind the songs that he lived, the songs we grew up and resonate with.
William Michael Morgan