Alan Jack­son

Townsville coun­try mu­sic fans are trekking south in their droves to take in coun­try su­per­star Alan Jack­son’s three Bris­bane con­certs from to­mor­row night. Ross Pur­die talked to the man ahead of his Aus­tralian tour

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today -

THE banged-out 1955 Thun­der­bird is the only car parked among Alan Jack­son’s mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar col­lec­tion that he re­ally cares about.

Bought when the coun­try mu­sic star was just 15, show­ing off to his school sweet­heart Denise, the cou­ple sold it when they got en­gaged and needed the cash for a wed­ding.

Twenty years later, af­ter Jack­son had grown into one of coun­try mu­sic’s most pro­lific sen­sa­tions, his wife tracked it down and bought it back as a sur­prise.

It means more than the Aston Martins and Fer­raris which have jos­tled for garage space over the years.

‘‘ The Thun­der­bird was a big part of my years as a teenager and a big part of my life,’’ Jack­son says from his home in Ten­nessee.

‘‘ All I cared about was cars grow­ing up so it al­ways had a spe­cial place in my heart and it’s re­ally the only one I care about.’’

Clearly big on firsts, Jack­son was very ex­cited about his first visit to Aus­tralia. The 52-year-old singer is well aware of the fever­ish ap­petite for his brand of tra­di­tional coun­try mu­sic and in­stantly apol­o­gises for tak­ing so long to make it Down Un­der.

‘‘ I’ve al­ways heard what great fans you all have there and what a beau­ti­ful coun­try it is,’’ he says.

‘‘ I’m look­ing to fi­nally get­ting the chance to see it in per­son.’’

One of Amer­ica’s best known coun­try mu­sic singers, Jack­son has recorded 14 al­bums since 1990 and topped the coun­try sin­gles chart 35 times dur­ing his il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer.

He’s per­formed at the White House for three US pres­i­dents, two Bushes and a Clin­ton, owns a star on Hol­ly­wood’s Walk Of Fame, been par­o­died as a char­ac­ter on South Park and had an Amer­i­can high­way named af­ter him.

His tro­phies stack up like a sky­scraper, a 16-time award win­ner at both the CMA and ACM awards with the tally in­clud­ing three CMA En­ter­tainer of the Year hon­ours.

His great­est com­pli­ment though? Two fans so ded­i­cated they de­cided to name their dogs Alan.

Jack­son may just be the most mod­est man in his­tory to have sold 50 mil­lion al­bums.

Un­like fel­low coun­try stars like Garth Brooks and Sha­nia Twain, he shuns glam­our by main­tain­ing the ethos of what he sings about – drink­ing, love, heartache.

When he won his sec­ond Grammy for a coun­try col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Zac Brown Band this year he hap­pily watched on TV.

Jack­son en­joys the sim­ple things in life, be­ing out­doors and tin­ker­ing with his vast col­lec­tion of boats and cars, skills learnt from his me­chanic fa­ther who raised him well on the banks of Lake Martin on the Ge­or­giaAlabama line. (‘‘ He wasn’t a mean man, he loved an­i­mals and his only vice was smok­ing.’’)

Fam­ily, chil­dren, health and happi- ness are the first things Jack­son reels off when asked about the most im­por­tant things in his life.

If Jack­son ap­pears mod­er­ate to his means it’s a qual­ity which runs in the fam­ily.

His mother con­tin­ues to live in the same shoe­box she raised five chil­dren in. Jack­son, be­ing the only boy and the youngest, slept in the hall­way due to a lack of space.

He later of­fered to buy his mum a big­ger place, but re­luc­tantly set­tled for a lav­ish re­furb when his over­tures fell on deaf ears.

‘‘ She wouldn’t leave there no mat­ter what,’’ he re­veals.

Alan Jack­son

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