He sings straight, writes songs without a half dozen Music Row hacks pitching in their two cents, and keeps the music basic. OnDrive, Jackson mixes wistful visions with satire, sorrow, and eloquence, using old cars--"Drive (For Daddy Gene)"--to explore … see full wiki
Alan Jackson is a great country singer, as well as a genuine, clever, and simple songwriter. He uses all of his best assets on 'Drive'. The familiar material is accomplished, but the less familiar is often even better. The title song, one of his most particular and personal since "Chatahoochee," weaves enough images to transport the listener through his memories. It is substantial in heart and melody. But newer memories come through on "Where Were You (When the World Stopped)". Here he evokes images tenderly, knowing he hardly needs to be "Shockin' us all" any further. He covers all of the bases of our 9/11 experience, and then invites us to be healed and to continue to love one another. It is a fine, uplifting song. Alan Jackson doesn't just heal and drudge up memories, though. He has some country songs on this album that seem so classic, one sometimes thinks they're remakes. His lyrics (more than half of them written or co-written by him) are as clever as "an all-American country boy," can be. The titles tell most of his story: "Designated Drinker," "I Slipped and Fell in Love," and "A Work in Progress," yet they have simple, but savvy phrasing. The first song is a duet with George Strait, a partnership that shows despite all the hot new country, Alan Jackson is mostly a loyal traditionalist. This is true on most of the songs, especially "That'd Be Alright," a whimsical and playful number perfect for the radio. And "Once in a Lifetime Love" is his own ballad alternative that should fit the listener like an old pair of soft jeans. For variety's sake he adds the excellent, upbeat, blues-flavored "First Love," and "The Sounds" delivers a good, solid ballad with fine piano accompaniment.
Many fans are undoubtedly tempted to get Alan Jackson's collections like his "...Greatest Hits, Vol. II," but this C.D. is worthy enough to buy first hand. (The '...Hits...' album should be gravy on the grits.) This album is put together well, and the songs, if anything, seem to get better as the songs move along (unlike his classic 'Who I Am' which is strong, but starts to wane somewhat on the second half). The musicianship is often intricate and accomplished, and, of course, Jackson has one of the best voices in country music. He takes country themes are is able to express himself in a new and colorful way that doesn't lose his audience.