Alan Jackson brought back lump-in-your-throat traditional country at this year’s ACM Awards ceremony, delivering a two-fer performance that reminded viewers of the good old days.
The country legend matched his new song “You’ll Always Be My Baby” with the classic “Drive (For Daddy Gene),” bringing a fatherly vibe to the Ryman Auditorium stage with the numbers written from a parental perspective. Jackson opened the medley with a dose of nostalgia with “Drive,” offering a sense of early 2000s country comfort that led into “You’ll Always Be My Baby.” A gently crying fiddle added to the emotional nature of the song as old family photos of Jackson with his three daughters Mattie, Alexandra and Dani appeared in the panes of the giant window backdrops behind him. “But you’ll always be my baby / No matter where you are / You’ll always be my baby / Forever in my heart,” he proclaimed with his heartfelt voice as sentimental childhood memories and father-daughter-dance photos from his children’s weddings flashed in the background.
“You’ll Always Be My Baby” arrives on Jackson’s upcoming new album, Where Have You Gone (out May 14), and was penned by Jackson for one of his daughter’s weddings. Meanwhile, “Drive (For Daddy Gene)” is a longtime fan favorite first released in 2002, capturing memories of Jackson’s own childhood and the way hopes to pass traditions down in his own family.
Marking his first studio set in six years, Where Have You Gone comes out May 14, and also features “I Do,” another track written to honor another of Jackson’s daughters on her big day.
The 2021 ACM Awards was hosted by Keith Urban and Mickey Guyton, broadcast live on Sunday, April 18 (8:00-11:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network and will be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.
See all of our ACM coverage right here.