Alan Jackson laments the changing country format in his forlorn track, “Where Have You Gone.” And with its new official video, the traditional stalwart brings his lonely theme to life.
A black-and-white clip filmed at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium, the video features a ghostly cast of co-stars, and finds Jackson all alone with his thoughts. Missing the old style of country the Georgia native has long sought to uphold — even at the height of his ’90s pop-country hits — he croons sadly and slowly about the lack of soft steel guitars, simple songs from the heart and the steady march of time. The whole thing gives off the vibe of mourning a lost love — and that feeling is backed up by the clip’s special-effect centerpiece.
Standing on the famed Ryman stage, Jackson is joined in his sorrow by visions of the past, flickering in and out like specters of a different time. Ghostly images of Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette, Patsy Cline and more flash by as he sings, “Sweet country music, where have you gone? / The airwaves are waiting, please come back home.”
“This is Alan’s idea…capturing all of this incredible history that’s happened here,” explains video director Peter Zavadil. “The goal was to make the Ryman as much of a character in this as Alan is the artist onstage. This is a magical place.”
“The song kind of starts out like it’s a lost love,” Jackson adds. “I love what I call ‘real country music,’ and I just see it fading away more than I ever have. I just wanted to say that.”
It’s hardly the first time Alan Jackson has made his feelings on modern country known, and to his credit, he continues to make the kind of music he’d like to hear. “Where Have You Gone” is the title track of his Where Have You Gone album, released back in May, and he’s also shared tracks like the heartfelt “You’ll Always Be My Baby” (written for his daughters’ weddings), the honky-tonking “Beer:10″ and more. Jackson’s also currently delivering his brand of country live, and will wrap his 2021 tour schedule with a “hometown concert” October 8 at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.