Alan Jackson Says ‘Country Music Is Gone,’ and He’s Not Happy About It

“All the kids and young people around my house? The older they’ve got, the more hardcore and traditional what they’ve leaned into has become. It’s not old-school, it’s the real school. And I’m kinda pissed off … about what’s happened to the format, or whatever they wanna call it.”

Jackson leans heavily into his timeless country roots on his new album, Where Have You Gone, calling on traditional country instruments including fiddle and steel guitar to help tell his stories through song. The singer describes the project as “harder country” than he’s done in the past, and a project he has “always dreamed” of making, with the title track addressing his issues with the genre’s modern sound head-on.

“Real country songs are life and love and heartache. They’re drinking, singing about Mama and having a good time, sad things, fun things,” he analyzes, adding of the album, “It reflects the sounds of the instruments I grew up on, steel and acoustic guitar, the fiddle and the way they all came together. It gave you a sound, but also a real feeling or emotions no other music really had.”

Where Have You Gone drops on Friday (May 14).

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