But it wasn’t random. I have loved Alan Jackson since the late 90s when I moved to Dallas and thought “Gone Country” might be my theme song. It wasn’t; I was never that “country” and have never owned a pair of cowboy boots. But that didn’t keep me from listening to the album “Everything I Love” over and over. The songs on this album still make me think of my time in Dallas.
Later I fell in love with other songs – He has over 30 number 1 hits and was recently inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame – but my favorite is “Drive (for Daddy Gene)” the tribute he wrote after losing his dad. At the concert, he introduced the song by saying he didn’t want to write a sad song about his dad. So he wrote this:
“It’s painted red, the stripe was white
It was eighteen feet from the bow to the stern light
Second hand from a dealer in Atlanta
I rode up with Daddy when he went there to get her
Put on a shine, put on a motor
Built out of love, made for the water
Ran her for years, till the transom got rotten
A piece of my childhood will never be forgotten
It was just an old plywood boat
A ’75 Johnson with electric choke
A young boy two hands on the wheel
I can’t replace the way it make me feel
And I would turn her sharp
And I would make her whine
He’d say, you can’t beat the way an old wood boat rides
Just a little lake across the Alabama line
But I was king of the ocean
When Daddy let me drive”
The catchy song moves on to remember “an old hand-me-down Ford With three-speed on the column and a dent in the door” that he also got to drive, and it ends with him letting his daughters drive a jeep.
As much as I love this song, and I did grow up “in the country,” it doesn’t represent my childhood.*
It does, however, represent my husband’s childhood, who was driving everything at a young age on a farm. The boat he remembers driving even had the same motor. And he also lost his dad, in 2001.
At the concert during this song my husband noticed Jackson had a tear. (Yes we were that close to him!!) We started crying too.
Then Jackson went right into another emotional song, the “Where Were You When the World Stop Turning” which always makes me cry and think. He wrote this song right after the events of 9/11 and although I feel that some of the later country songs took this in a different direction that made me cringe, this particular song is from the heart, raw and beautiful.
“Gone country” for the evening, we had a great time on the “Honky Tonk Highway” tour. It was – by far – the most laid-back of all the concerts I have attended and blogged about recently, and this was nice.
And sharing tears with Alan Jackson during “Drive” is something I’ll never forget.
*My learning to drive a stick shift around our section at age 15 is not song worthy – it involved yelling and crying – though the memory does now make me laugh.
The “Drive” album and all of his songs are available for streaming as part of Amazon Prime membership: Try Amazon Music Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial.
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