The unthinkable happened on Wednesday as a small-town Idaho paper published a review of the latest album by country music star Alan Jackson that did not include the keywords “long,” “tall,” or “traditional.”
Reviewer Joe Wallace of the Garden City Examiner boldly flouted 20 years of music journalism tradition by terming Jackson a “lanky torchbearer for modern classic country.”
That’s pretty close, but not close enough, say some of Wallace’s fellow music writers.
“You need to put the right words in there for people to know what you’re talking about,” remarked Alec Perkins, current president of the Association of Country Music Journalists (ACMJ). “With Alan Jackson, our guidelines call for the inclusion of the adjectives long, tall, and traditonal. It doesn’t matter that ‘long’ and ‘tall’ mean the same thing, or that neither has anything to do with the quality of music he’s turning out. It also doesn’t matter that ‘traditional’ isn’t an especially helpful description, given the existence of so many different and competing country music traditions. Keep it simple: long, tall, traditional… add a four or five star rating and you’re done.”
Perkins added that all features on Jackson must also make passing mention of the “Georgia boy’s” gentle modesty and include a reference to Jackson contemporary George Strait, however unnecessary.
This isn’t the first time Wallace has landed in hot water with the ACMJ. He earned a stern reprimand just months ago for calling Gary Allan’s voice “raspy” rather than “gravelly” or “whiskey-soaked.” One more infraction this year will put him in jeopardy of losing his membership.