Entertainment

Alan Jackson, Lauren Alaina perform Saturday at Civic Center

We like to think we hold a special place in Alan Jackson's heart.

In addition to the obvious connection -- his hit "Chattahoochee" -- the country singer showed Columbus some love just about two years ago with his music video for "Hard Hat and a Hammer."

Crews traveled to Columbus locations Goldens' Foundry and Machine Company as well as Royal Cafe while filming the video, which includes rapid-fire footage from many locations in the Southeast.

With a new album on the horizon, Jackson comes to the Columbus Civic Center on Saturday. Lauren Alaina, who placed second on the 10th season of "American Idol," will open the show. Both artists hail from Georgia.

Jackson, known for hits ranging from "Remember When" to the Jimmy Buffett duet "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere," recently took time to answer our questions via e-mail.

"Thirty Miles West" is set for a June release. What can we expect from the album?

I think there's some cool things on there. It's just a mixture of some fun things, some serious things, some love songs, some heartache songs -- songs about that I've always thought country music's about.

It's always nice to have a Georgia native perform in town. Is there anything about the state that makes for good song inspiration?

Oh, sure -- all sorts of things. There's a song called "Dixie Highway" on this new album that's comin' out in June. Where I grew up in Newnan was just about 30 miles west of what used to be the part of the Dixie Highway that ran through Georgia. That song has all sort of things that I can remember from growing up in Georgia, and we got Zac Brown to come in and sing on the song with me -- he's a picker and a Georgia boy. It's one of my favorite cuts on the album.

Many of us still get emotional upon hearing "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)." Ten years after 9/11, what does that song mean to you?

You know, I still get so many comments about that. And I've said many times that of all the awards, and all that kind of stuff, the music is still what I like. To be able to create a song that really affects people and makes a mark in the music industry, I would have to say that would be a highlight. I was proud that I got to do it and that it seemed like it meant something.

What's your favorite thing about the current country music scene?

To me, country music's about a lot of the same things it's always been about -- being in love, having your heart broke, drinkin' and partyin', livin' and dyin', family and where you grew up.

What separates a country music concert from other live shows?

I don't know that a country music show is any different than a lot of other shows. People just want to go out on a Friday or Saturday night and have a good time...hear some music they enjoy...and that's what we try to give them when they come to see us.

Your "Hard Hat and a Hammer" music video has a local connection. What do places like Royal Cafe and Goldens' Foundry and Machine Company mean to you?

Well, for that video, the director had this idea of showing all sorts of different people doing different jobs -- they filmed at those places, but they also went to shipyards down in Alabama and up to a mining company in Kentucky and over to a firehouse in Nashville. I thought they did a nice job of showing folks from all over who work hard for a living -- I appreciated them being part of the video.

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