Jackson reveals in an interview with Today’s Country Radio With Kelleigh Bannen that it was actually Justin Timberlake’s smash hit “SexyBack” that inspired him to write the track.
“It started as a joke, really,” Jackson tells Bannen. “My kids were talking about that Justin Timberlake had this ‘bringing sexy back’ song and they were just laughing and talking about it. And I hadn’t even heard it and they were just laughing, and I said, ‘Well, I think I’m going to write one about [how] I’m going to bring country back.'”
What started out as friendly teasing within the family soon put pressure on the country legend to try his hand at writing the song.
“I didn’t write it from a position that I’m going to bring country back,” Jackson says. “I think it was just more of a fun song and I ended up taking all these memories, visual memories of things that I remember growing up in the South in a small town, which is so relatable to country music.”
While Jackson does end up promising that he’s “bringing country back” in the song’s chorus, he makes it clear that what he’s really setting out to do is honor country music’s roots. He goes on to sing, ” … back where it bеlongs, back on track / Yeah, I think ol’ Hank would like it like that.”
Like the rest of the tracks on Where Have You Gone, “Back” is steeped in the fiddle and steel guitar sounds that define traditional country music. While the album shows just what Jackson means when he sings about bringing the genre back, he uses the verses on “Back” to spell it out for us: “Songs about heartbreak, pair of swingin’ doors / Ridin’ on the tailgate, sawdust on the floors.“
Listen to the new track below:
Where Have You Gone dropped on Friday (May 14). It’s Jackson’s first new album since Angels & Alcohol in 2015.
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