NEPA Scene Staff

Country Music Hall of Famer Alan Jackson plays hits at Giant Center in Hershey on May 18

Country Music Hall of Famer Alan Jackson plays hits at Giant Center in Hershey on May 18
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From a press release:

Country Music Hall of Famer Alan Jackson, one of the bestselling solo artists of all time, will bring his multi-platinum hits to the Giant Center in Hershey on Saturday, May 18 at 7:30 p.m. with newcomer William Michael Morgan.

Tickets, which range from $39.99-$619, plus fees, are on sale now and available at the Giant Center box office (550 Hersheypark Dr., Hershey), online at and, and by phone at 717-534-3911 or 800-745-3000.

Alan Jackson’s concerts find the country icon performing hits that have gained him legions of longtime fans, songs that continue to draw new crowds as a younger generation discovers his music. His repertoire stands the test of time; it has impacted a field of artists who cite Jackson as an influence. It’s these same songs – many written by Jackson – that earned him his place alongside country music’s greatest names and cemented his place in its history with membership in the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Fans will hear the songs they love from the man who wrote them and made them famous, including his debut hit “Here in The Real World;” signature songs such as “Chattahoochee,” “Drive,” and “Gone Country;” party anthems “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” and “Good Time;” and many more.

William Michael Morgan will be Jackson’s special guest. The chart-topping hit “I Met a Girl” put the Mississippi native on the map, and his talent, music and voice are keeping him there. A timeless sound and honest lyrics landed him a major label record deal at 19, gave him that No. 1 gold smash, and earned him a Top 5 debut album. A few years older – and hundreds of shows wiser – Morgan’s music embodies the man he’s become: a hard worker, big dreamer, single dad, hopeless romantic, and pure country stalwart unafraid to embrace the here and now.

Jackson’s Hershey concert will continue his tradition of “keepin’ it country” for people far and wide as he brings nearly 30 years of hits to Pennsylvania.

Unlike most entertainers, Jackson is a quiet, reserved man who can be uncomfortable with public attention and the media spotlight. However, watch him in concert or listen to his recordings and it becomes clear that he loves country music. He admires country music’s heroes, and he relates to country music’s fans. He loves what country songs express. He loves the subtle emotions that the best country songwriters weave into lyrics. He loves getting on a concert stage or settling into a recording booth and turning his personal values and experiences into songs packed with wit, insight, and universal truths.

“I never really liked the whole star part of the music business,” Jackson said. “I like the singing and the writing and all that goes with that. That’s the part that drew me into it. I wanted to make good country music, and I never wanted to venture too far from that.”

During an era of tremendous musical change, he built his reputation by being a steadfast standard-bearer for traditional country music. While others stoked debates about what does or does not constitute country music, Jackson provided the measuring stick. No one ever questioned the music he created. His songs are, and always have been, the very definition of country music.

That dedication to the genre’s core values was apparent from the start of Jackson’s recording career in 1989, when he became the first country artist signed to Arista Records. His expressive baritone revealed the influence of heroes George Jones and Hank Williams, and his songwriting presented a clever, heartfelt view of life, love, and family in the South. On early hits such as “Here in the Real World,” “Chasin’ that Neon Rainbow,” and his first No. 1, “I’d Love You All Over Again,” Jackson sounded like a throwback to an earlier era.

Nonetheless, within traditional country parameters, he has explored a wide range of regional styles. His songs have drawn on bluegrass, Cajun, honky-tonk, gospel, love ballads, tear-in-your-beer heartbreakers, and western swing. He has proven masterful at finding fresh ways to update traditional styles while focusing on lyrics that tell his stories and extol his values and indulge his humor.

“I never wanted to venture too far from the kind of music I’ve always loved,” Jackson said. “Hank Williams or Merle Haggard, they liked to play a lot of different styles of music, but it was all country. I wanted to mix it up but stay true to country too.”

The Newnan, Georgia native was born on Oct. 17, 1958. His father, Joseph Eugene “Daddy Gene” Jackson, worked as a mechanic at a Ford Motor Company assembly plant. His mother, Ruth “Mama Ruth” Musick Jackson, was a dietitian and school cafeteria manager. As Jackson paid tribute in his song “Home,” his father built the family’s residence around a one-room tool shed, expanding the home through the years to accommodate the births of Alan and his four older sisters.

Jackson didn’t own a guitar growing up, and no one in his family sang or played an instrument. When he turned 21, he had yet to write a song or perform in a honky-tonk, nor had he traveled north of the Georgia border. “Nashville,” he said, “seemed as far away as Japan to me.”

Jackson met his wife, Denise, at age 17; the couple married the following year. In 1980, after attending a country concert, Jackson began to talk to his wife about his interest in a career in music. Three years later, he started performing cover tunes with local country bands. He honed a distinctive style built on an expressive, believable baritone voice and songwriting that drew on his own experiences. He turned those details into concise, catchy songs that were, by turns, colorful and deeply emotional.

Denise Jackson, while working as a flight attendant, met singer Glen Campbell in an airport and asked for advice for her husband. Campbell referred her to a Nashville music publishing company he owned; he also told her that the couple should move to Nashville.

In 1985, the couple followed Campbell’s suggestion and moved into a basement apartment in the Donelson neighborhood near the Nashville airport. Jackson began working in the mail room at the Nashville Network, a cable TV channel, and he picked up extra money singing demo recordings for songs written by other songwriters. He dedicated himself to writing his own material, which landed him a songwriting deal with Campbell’s publishing company, KayTeeKay Music.

Jackson began recording his own songs in 1988 with the help of producer Keith Stegall. Those demo recordings led Jackson to his contract with Arista and the release of his 1990 debut album, “Here in the Real World” – co-produced by Stegall and Scott Hendricks – which sold two million copies. Every album Jackson released for the next 15 years, all produced by Stegall, sold a million or more copies.

After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Jackson wrote and recorded “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning).” He introduced the song at the 2001 CMA Awards and it grew into a No. 1 hit that received national attention.

In addition to writing a majority of the material for his own recordings, he has contributed songs to other artists. Randy Travis, whom Jackson befriended before either was a star, recorded four Jackson tunes (three of which Travis co-wrote), including the hits “Forever Together” and “Better Class of Losers.” Jackson also wrote Clay Walker’s No. 1 hit “If I Could Make a Livin’,” and Faith Hill did well with Jackson’s “I Can’t Do That Anymore.”

Jackson has sold more than 60 million albums worldwide and ranks as one of the 10 bestselling solo artists of all time in any genre. As of 2017, he has registered 50 Top 10 hits and 35 No. 1s, including 26 Billboard No. 1s. He has received 18 Academy of Country Music Awards, 16 Country Music Association Awards, and a pair of Grammys. He received the first-ever ASCAP Heritage Award in 2014, having earned the title of most-performed country music songwriter/artist of ASCAP’s first 100 years. Jackson is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry.