What started as a special present Alan Jackson created for his mom has become the gift that keeps on giving. Though Alan’s mother, Ruth Musick Jackson, passed away in January at the age of 86, the gospel collection he recorded at her request is surfacing again with the recent re-release of the DVD “Precious Memories, Live at the Ryman.”
Alan’s dear mother was in the audience the night he recorded the live DVD at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, a night he turned the venue dubbed “the mother church of country music” back into a real church for one night. Check out his medley of “Are You Washed in the Blood” and “I’ll Fly Away” in the clip above.
When he recorded the collection of gospel classics, Alan never thought they’d be heard beyond family, but a record executive urged him to share it with the world, and “Precious Memories” became one of the top-selling albums of his career following its release in 2006, also the year the DVD first hit the market. He followed it up with “Precious Memories Volume II” in 2013.
Though he only intended to fulfill his mom’s request for a gospel album, Alan says his beloved wife, Denise, knew it would resonate with others. “I said, ‘I’m just doing this for your mama and my mama,’ and Denise said, ‘I’m telling you if you do these old hymns, and do them like people remembered them in church, people are going to buy that thing,’” Alan recalled in an interview at the time. “We didn’t make the album with the intention of going out [and] selling a bunch of albums. It was just an honest effort to do something sweet for our mothers.”
The “Precious Memories” projects will always hold a special place in Alan’s heart because they were so important to his mom. “It was a very special moment to perform these songs at the Ryman with my mama in the audience,” he says.