Black Music Matters Festival

Alan Jackson

Precious Memories – 2006 (Arista)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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Alan Jackson's new gospel CD beautifully exemplifies the less is more principle. A desire to over emote and overload the instrumental tracks when singing spiritual songs can be quite the temptation for some, but Jackson doesn't give into that enticement here.

We've all heard projects before where artists have thrown in orchestras, gospel choirs and anything else they could think of when recording hymns albums. But Jackson, produced once again by Keith Stegall, succeeds at replicating the quiet contemplation of a Sunday morning church service here, instead. There are, of course, a few of the same standards found on most gospel albums, including "How Great Thou Art" and "The Old Rugged Cross."

Most of this disc is filled out with Baptist hymnal favorites. The CD opens with "Blessed Assurance" and "What A Friend We Have In Jesus," "Standing On The Promises" and others. Jackson performs each song with the same simple purity of your average church-goer. The only special guests, in fact, were drawn from his family, as Denise, Mattie and Ali Jackson all sing backup during "'Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus."

If you share Jackson's same Sunday morning experiences, this CD will bring back plenty of precious memories.