Picks and Pans Review: Don't Rock the Jukebox
Following his strong 1990 debut album, this country singer—songwriter delivers another set of tunes marked by his friendly tenor, untricky lyrics and tuneful melodies. While the relaxed mood can make Jackson's music sound merely easy—listen to the clichéd "Working Class Hero"—it helps him create such moving ballads as "Someday" and "From a Distance" (a tune that pal Randy Travis helped him write, not Julie Gold's song).
Also in the subset of soulful tunes is "Midnight in Montgomery," where Jackson conjures up country forefather Hank Williams: "It's midnight in Montgomery/ Just hear that whippoorwill/ See the stars light up the purple sky/ Feel that lonesome chill/ When the wind is right you'll hear a song/...Hank's always singing there."
Helping Jackson on the playful "Just Playin' Possum" is another, albeit living hero of his: the wily George Jones. (Jones gets a reciprocal plug from Jackson on the feel-good title song: "Don't rock the jukebox/ I wanna hear some Jones.") And the swinging "Walkin' the Floor over Me" is a nice turnabout on the Ernest Tubb classic.
Backed beautifully by his Nashville-based road band, the Strayhorns, plus such other solid players as steel guitarist Paul Franklin, Jackson has a knack for making middle-of-the-country-road music that never sounds self-satisfied or slick. (Arista)
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