Picks and Pans Review: Who I Am

updated 07/04/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/04/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Alan Jackson

Country crooner Alan Jackson straddles an interesting middle ground: He charms not as a romantic (like Vince Gill) or as a good ol' boy (Travis Tritt) but as a regular Joe who could be the guy next door. Blessed with an offhand, effortless style and a no-nonsense batch of mostly self-penned songs, his Everyman approach has pushed all of his albums beyond platinum (1992's A Lot About Livin', with the No. 1 single "Chattahoochee," went triple).

Classic, pop-free country is still the name of the game Jackson's fourth time out, and nowhere is his low-key approach more effective than on "Gone Country" (written by Bob McDill). In lesser hands the tune would teeter into yee-haw territory—just one more in an endless litany of tributes to the glories of country music. But skillful navigation and a clear, honest voice inject it with a reflective mournfulness that elevates the predictable into the pleasurable. (Arista)

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