Alan Jackson has had one helluva year. He released his 21st studio album titled Angels & Alcohol, a healthy collection of honky-tonk traditionalism which is not especially risky but completely satisfying in its return to musical center. The singer, who is a prominent fixture of the Class of '89 (which also includes the likes of Randy Travis, Clint Black and Mary Chapin Carpenter), also mounted his Keepin' It Country nationwide tour. Amidst the growing displeasure with terrestrial radio among fans and critics, the living legend reasserted himself and road in at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums scorecard, with more than 45,000 copies sold in its first week. With additional streaming figures, he bowed at No. 3 on the all-genre Billboard 200, now a multi-consumption chart.
There is a clear shift in mainstream country, supported by the continued excellence by one of the best-selling and definitive acts of the neo-traditionalist era. His impact is felt prominently in the recent success of accomplished songwriter Chris Stapleton at the 2015 CMA Awards and the rising stardom of newcomer Mo Pitney, whose style is far removed from the hip-hop and R&B sonic influence in today's youthful radio staples. Through several decades of trends and shiny, new stars, Jackson celebrates his 25th anniversary in the business with the October release of his first-ever anthology collection, featuring his most well-known hits as well as eight never-before-heard releases. Fans can grab the box set via a Walmart exclusive. His career began with the grounded sharpness of his Here in the Real World debut LP, and he has never slowed down.
In a brand new featurette, Jackson mulls over his 2015, which includes chance meetings with country's new class (Kelsea Ballerini, Cole Swindell, Maddie & Tae), appearances with Steven Tyler and Taylor Swift, a concert on "The Today Show" summer stage (July 17), a Grand Ole Opry show and footage from his wildly successful tour. His song "Ain't Just a Southern Thing" serves as the backdrop. Take a look in the video above.
Angels & Alcohol was Jackson's first new album in over two years, following 2013's Bluegrass Album.