Alan Jackson – “Hard Hat And A Hammer”

While “It’s Just That Way” didn’t become another Top 10 hit for Alan Jackson, it did announce the arrival of his latest album Freight Train. Rather than wait, Alan is returning to the airwaves with a song that recalls hits in his past.  Will he return to the top with it?

Alan Jackson has long been one of country music’s most refreshingly original acts, someone who hasn’t compromised his neo-traditional sound along with the changing culture of country music. Take a listen to Tim McGraw’s new song “Still” and one of his singles from Not a Moment Too Soon in succession and the difference is staggering.  Jackson’s latest effort though, “Hard Hat and a Hammer”, could easily fit in with his singles from 1996’s Everything I Love.  

That sound, a combination of Jackson’s classic baritone and the subtle workings of longtime producer Keith Stegall, are at work in full force on “Hard Hat and a Hammer”, a song about the values of blue-collar life.  Lyrically, the song rekindles memories of Zac Brown’s “Chicken Fried” and Alabama’s “40 Hour Week (For a Livin’)”, but ultimately falls short of the down-home charm of the former and the narrative connection of the latter. 

Still, Jackson makes this an easy, enjoyable listen from beginning to end, even if it is a bit safe.  And after “It’s Just That Way” failed to crack the top 15 at radio, safe probably isn’t a bad course of action.  After 20 years of enjoying his work, I’m for anything that keeps Jackson’s “hard hat” relevant for another decade.

You can support Alan Jackson by purchasing this single at Amazon | iTunes.