It wasn't that much of a worry that it consumed all of our country music thoughts. But over the past few years we've been concerned about whether something is seriously wrong with Alan Jackson for a number of reasons.
There were a few shows suddenly postponed in 2018including one at the Wolf Trap in Virginia on August 16 after the band, crew, and everyone else arrived at the venue. Jackson later canceled the remainder of his 2018 tour due to an unknown illness. There were the shows where he spent part, most, or all of the time on a stool, which seemed atypical for Alan Jackson and a (now) 62-year-old performer, and stumbled a bit across the stage. And then there was the delay in the release of his new 2021 album Where Have You Gone.
But Alan Jackson has certainly earned the right to slow down and not be seen beyond his current Hall of Fame career. Still, he worried that something was wrong with him. On Tuesday morning (9-28) we found out what that was.
In an interview with Jenna Bush Hager on the Country Music Hall of Fame's TODAY Show, Alan Jackson revealed that he had a degenerative nerve condition called Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, which is (ironically) called CMT. He was diagnosed with the disease ten years ago. It mainly affects the peripheral nervous system and causes balance problems by affecting smaller muscles in the extremities of the body. The good news is that the disease is neither life threatening nor does it affect longevity.
"I have this neuropathy and neurological disorder," Jackson said in an interview. “It is genetic that I inherited from my father… There is no cure for it, but it has affected me for years. And it's getting more and more obvious. And I know that I'm stumbling around on the stage. And now I have a bit of balancing problems in front of the microphone and I just feel very uncomfortable. It won't kill me. It's not fatal. But it has to do with muscular dystrophy and Parkinson's disease. "
Alan Jackson continues, “You get so confident up there when you stumble around. I think it will be good for me to get it public now. So if someone is curious why I'm not walking properly, that's why. "
But don't worry, that doesn't mean Alan Jackson will be retiring anytime soon. He just felt the need to be honest with his fans so they wouldn't think he was stumbling across the stage drunk or having higher expectations than those he can meet with the disease.
"I never wanted to do the big retirement tour that people do, then take a year off and then come back," said Jackson. “I find that kind of cheesy. And I'm not saying I can't tour. I will try to do as much as possible. I feel a little more freedom now because I'm not trying to worry, go on the radio and fit into your limits. I've always believed that the music is the most important thing. The songs. And I think I would like to (leave) that if I had a legacy. "
While it's sad to hear about Alan's condition, it's safe to know that he isn't life threatening and that the rumors that he either doesn't handle his drinking or something worse is going on were just that – rumors. Hopefully he'll have many years of entertainment left off the stage.
Along with the release of his latest album Where Have You Gone in May, Alan Jackson has just released a video for the title track, which was recorded in the Ryman Auditorium (see below).