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Alan Jackson

Locomotives aren’t much about bluster. They’re more about power, speed, efficiency, rugged beauty, and drive. So is the career of Alan Jackson, which recently passed the 20-year signpost without the slightest stall in sight. The country music superstar cites no particular ulterior motive in naming his new album Freight Train, although he will allow that maybe there’s just the hint of a career metaphor in there. “This title just jumped out at me,” he says. “When you really think about it, man, we’ve been rolling along here for a lot of years, still going like a train.”

Momentum: you can’t beat it, and Jackson’s still got it. He’s sold more than 50 million albums and had 34 No. 1 hits—three of those off his last album, 2008’s Good Time. As superstars go, he’s one of only a handful of artists who’ve been around for two decades who still regularly top the country chart. And unlike the other veteran smashmakers who can make that claim, he’s the only one who is a true singer/songwriter, penning most of his own material.

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