What I Do

What I Do

4.2 4
by Alan Jackson
     
 

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Alan Jackson makes it all sound so easy: staying rooted in tradition while sounding utterly contemporary. His songs and cover selections are memorable yet effortless, full of clever wordplay and sharp observations, and he employs his warm baritone in the most affecting ways. That's as true as ever on What I Do, which kicks off with three of his strongest

Overview

Alan Jackson makes it all sound so easy: staying rooted in tradition while sounding utterly contemporary. His songs and cover selections are memorable yet effortless, full of clever wordplay and sharp observations, and he employs his warm baritone in the most affecting ways. That's as true as ever on What I Do, which kicks off with three of his strongest original songs to date. A lilting ballad marked by buoyant optimism, "Too Much of a Good Thing" suggests that a person can't overdose on love. With his tender vocal out front, Jackson lays out a real heartbreaker in the spare "Rainy Day in June," its reflective twist being the narrator's vow to retain "a hopeful heart" in spite of his current misery. A twangy guitar and mocking pedal steel lines set the tone for "USA Today," a witty, self-deprecating take on loneliness, with a confounded Jackson chewing up the scenery as "the loneliest man in the USA today." "Monday Morning Church," a cover, is a gut-wrenching ballad about loss of faith in the wake of devastating personal tragedy, rich in telling detail and featuring Patty Loveless adding tear-stained harmonies. Jackson kicks out the jams a bit on "Burnin' the Honky Tonks Down," his ebullient vocal backed by gospel-style responses from the Oak Ridge Boys' Richard Sterban. Jackson closes out the disc with "To Do What I Do," an autobiographical ballad recorded live that takes an introspective look at a road to success paved with perseverance and love. Amen to that work ethic, and to AJ for being real, many times over.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Alan Jackson had been a star for a long time before he released Drive in 2002, but that album turned him into a superstar, largely because it had the post-9/11 anthem "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)," a crossover smash that made Jackson a household name. Unlike some of his peers, he didn't embrace this opportunity to become an omnipresent celebrity, he turned out a second greatest-hits album in 2003 -- complete with another crossover hit in the Jimmy Buffett duet "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" -- before returning with the full-length What I Do in September of 2004. Filled with straightforward, unadorned honky tonk and gentle, rolling ballads, What I Do makes it clear that Jackson doesn't have the slightest interest in becoming a full-fledged, crossover country-pop star. This is the purest country album he's cut in a long time, but what makes it one of his very best albums isn't its purity, it's how it's delivered with a quiet confidence, a big heart, and a sly sense of humor. Jackson has backed away from any big social statements -- there is a song called "USA Today," but far from being a comment on either the state of the world or his celebrity, it merely tells the tale of "the loneliest man in the U.S.A. today" -- and sings about love, heartache, churches, fixing cars, and wishing "If French Fries Were Fat Free." As that last song suggests, he's learned from his idol George Jones that even songs about heartbreak can be just as effective if delivered with a sense of humor, but the best joke here is "The Talkin' Song Repair Blues," where Jackson haggles with a mechanic who fancies himself a songwriter. Despite these moments of levity, much of What I Do is heavy on ballads. While it's true that the loping drinking song "Strong Enough" and rip-roaring "Burnin' the Honky Tonks Down" are so good it's hard not to wish Jackson threw a few more ravers into the mix, each of these ballads works splendidly, whether it's the sweet "Too Much of a Good Thing," the gently supportive "There Ya Go," or the aching "Rainy Day in June." Given the preponderance of ballads and the laid-back delivery, What I Do has an intimate, relaxed feel, the polar opposite of a sequel to a blockbuster like Drive usually is. But instead of feeling like a retreat, What I Do feels like one of Jackson's most assured and best albums, proof positive that he's the best mainstream country singer of this decade.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/07/2004
Label:
Arista
UPC:
0828766310320
catalogNumber:
63103

Tracks

  1. Too Much of a Good Thing
  2. Rainy Day in June
  3. USA Today
  4. If Love Was a River
  5. If French Fries Were Fat Free
  6. You Don't Have to Paint Me a Picture
  7. There Ya Go
  8. The Talkin' Song Repair Blues
  9. Strong Enough
  10. Monday Morning Church
  11. Burnin' the Honky Tonks Down
  12. To Do What I Do

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Alan Jackson   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Patty Loveless   Background Vocals
Matt Rollings   Piano
Lloyd Green   Steel Guitar
John Wesley Ryles   Background Vocals
Eddie Bayers   Drums
Stuart Duncan   Fiddle,Mandolin
Robbie Flint   Steel Guitar
Paul Franklin   Steel Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar
Danny Groah   Electric Guitar
Brent Mason   Bass,Bass Guitar,Electric Guitar
Hargus "Pig" Robbins   Piano
Bruce Rutherford   Drums
Tom Rutledge   Acoustic Guitar
Richard Sterban   Background Vocals
Bruce Watkins   Acoustic Guitar,Banjo
Roger Wills   Bass
Glenn Worf   Bass,Bass Guitar
Dave Gaylord   Fiddle
Mark Fain   Bass,Bass Guitar
Kirk "Jelly Roll" Johnson   Harmonica
Monty Parkey   Piano
Monty Allen   Background Vocals
Tony Stephens   Acoustic Guitar
Dave Kelly   Mandolin
Shannon Wright   Background Vocals
Adam Wright   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Dan Hill   Composer
Billy Burnette   Composer
Dennis Linde   Composer
Shawn Camp   Composer
Emory Gordy   Engineer
Alan Jackson   Composer
John Kelton   Engineer
Kooster McAllister   Engineer
Keith Stegall   Composer,Producer
Stan Dacus   Engineer
S. Wade Hunt   Art Direction
Mellissa Schleicher   grooming
Matt Rovey   Engineer
Greg Langford   Engineer
Shannon Wright   Composer
Adam Wright   Composer
Tim Johnson   Composer
Brent Baxter   Composer
Erin Enderlin   Composer
Tom Davis   Audio Production

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What I Do 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love "If Love was a river" When I first heard the Music I was in another room away from the tv. It was Alan Jackson Singing " If love was a river" The Song was so Profound, Buetifuly written. The sound reminded me of Johnny Cash flavered Buetifuly
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love every song on this new cd.Alan has such a sweet and tender voice. He is just the BEST!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have never purchased a country & western album before but when I heard Alan Jackson sing "If Love Was a River" on the Today show, I was spellbound and had to get the album. Many of the songs are beautiful and not too country, and all are worth listening to again. I'd highly recommend this album, but my best advice is to go to track 4 right away!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago