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Alan Jackson - Precious Memories 
By: Cheryl Harvey Hill, Sr. Staff Journalist

Let's all join together in a rousing "Amen" and give a heart-felt tip of our Stetson to Alan Jackson for using his incredible, God-given talent to honor his mother's request, his upbringing, and his faith in a higher power; enough to create this album. You only need to listen, one time, to this collection of fifteen inspirational hymns to understand why the album is titled Precious Memories. Anyone who has ever set foot in a church, of any denomination, any where, is certain to recognize at least one memorable stanza among these classic mantras. The fact that the album debuted at number one on Billboard's country albums chart, and sold nearly 110,000 copies in its first week, offers an optimistic glimpse into America's heart, and hopefully conscience, at a time when we can certainly use some sanguinity.

We've all heard the saying, "less is more" and this album is utter proof of that old saying. The inspiration for this project was a request from Jackson's mother and mother-in-law to record some familiar hymns. The album was, initially, intended to be a simple, musical gift for them so the family involvement eventually went beyond the initial concept and into the recording studio where Jackson's wife Denise and two of his daughters, Mattie and Ali, provided the background vocals on "'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus." Luckily for the rest of us, once Arista got wind of this project, they encouraged Jackson to release it to the general public.

I think almost everyone has a favorite old hymn tucked away somewhere in their memory. I have always loved "In the Garden" and "The Old Rugged Cross" but I think Jackson's simple rendition of "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus," accompanied only by Keith Stegall on the piano, might be my favorite track on this album; it is certainly the personification of elegant simplicity. On the other hand, I couldn't help but join in on the chorus of "How Great Thou Art" but... come to think of it, my spirits began to lift from the first verse of "Blessed Assurance," which is the first track on this album and "Softly and Tenderly," the second track, triggered memories of the choir I loved being a part of as a young person in my hometown back in Ohio. Fifteen songs sounds like a lot but, unfortunately, several of the songs are barely two minutes long so before you know it, the album has come to an end. Fortunately, the good feelings that are harvested by these hymns last much longer.

Alan Jackson has always been a class act and he has exposed his heart to the world on numerous occasions but on this venture, he exposes his soul and gives us a reverent, musical affirmation of faith. After listening to this album my mother, a renowned cliché queen, would probably say, "At this moment, God is smiling in heaven." That pretty much sums up this album and will, no doubt, have the same effect on all who hear it.

Click on the banner to open a player and hear 4 songs!

Precious Memories song list:

To purchase the CD online click on the album cover.

1. Blessed Assurance 
2. Softly And Tenderly 
3. I Love To Tell The Story 
4. When We All Get To Heaven 
5. 'Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus 
6. In The Garden 
7. Are You Washed In The Blood? 
8. I'll Fly Away
9. What A Friend We Have In Jesus 
10. Standing On The Promises 
11. Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
12. Leaning On The Everlasting Arms 
13. The Old Rugged Cross 
14. How Great Thou Art 
15. I Want To Stroll Over Heaven With You 

Related Links:
www.AlanJackson.com - Official Website
What I Do - CSO Review 
Greatest Hits Volume II - CSO Review 
Drive - CSO Review

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Real People Reviews

Alan Jackson -- ever the country music classicist -- restores two traditions at once, offering an album of faith while at the same time paring his accompaniment to an earthier acoustically-inclined core. This collection of fifteen hymns draws its power entirely from Jackson's commitment and the songs' timeless qualities, forgoing any calculated commercial intentions. Originally recorded as a personal gift to Jackson's mother, the album's public release has brought an unexpected dividend, debuting at #1 on the country album chart, while simultaneously topping Billboard's Christian album chart and landing at #4 on Billboard's album chart. CD buyers are tapping into the heartfelt, private nature of the performances, with Jackson's voice and his harmony singers strikingly framed by gentle arrangements of acoustic guitar, piano and organ. The material rings with the familiarity of regular worship services, and will be dear to those raised in the faith; those who spent their Sundays elsewhere will find inspiration in these classic songs. One might be inclined to think of these performances as a family living-room sing, were the family not so unusually talented. Still, the spare arrangements and Jackson's devotion allow the songs to take center stage, with the singer's luminous talent providing the halo.
~ Red Tunic Troll


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