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Album Review

Alan Jackson, ‘Freight Train’

March 29, 2010

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Alan Jackson’s 18th album takes its name from one of the songs contained therein, but that song’s barreling, bluegrass-tinged locomotive pace and love-gone-bad sentiments make it a bit of a titular misnomer. This is a record of slow and midtempo songs where the steel predominates and the upside of love prevails, from the relaxed, quasi-cocktail country of its first single, “It’s Just That Way,’’ to a closing troika that travels through the intensity of love (“Big Green Eyes’’) to the joys of the domestic variety (“True Love Is a Golden Ring’’) and its capacity to change, grow, and deepen as it ages (“The Best Keeps Getting Better’’). For the rest, Jackson touches on themes he’s visited many times before, including a tip of the hat to the blue-collar world (“Hard Hat and a Hammer’’) and an appreciation of relaxed good times (“That’s Where I Belong’’). He also marks the passing of hard-country predecessor Vern Gosdin by reprising Gosdin’s hit duet “Till The End,’’ with Lee Ann Womack’s help. There isn’t anything revelatory or strikingly different here — just the solid, precise craftsmanship of an artist now deep into his career. (Out tomorrow) -- STUART MUNRO

Country
Alan Jackson, ‘‘Freight Train’’
Arista Nashville
ESSENTIAL “Big Green Eyes’’