Retro Single Review: Alan Jackson, “Midnight in Montgomery”

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October 23, 2011

If you’re looking for a genuinely spooky song for the Halloween season, look no further than Alan Jackson’s chilling “Midnight in Montgomery.”

From the very first strains of the downbeat acoustic guitar followed by the eerie steel intro, it’s evident that this is no typical country love song or drinking ditty. Instead, it’s set at Hank Williams’ grave at midnight whereupon the narrator, presumably Alan Jackson, sees Hank’s ghost.

The song’s story is fascinating in and of itself, but equally impressive is the recording as a whole package. Along with the ominous production and chilling story, Jackson’s performance strays from its usual smooth reliability and picks up its own haunting quality, which perfectly adds to the overall darkness of the song.

What’s more, much like a Hitchcock thriller, the parts of the song that capture this compositional masterpiece is not violence and blood, but rather, masterful storytelling that is thanks to the lyrics, production and performance that forms a psychologically thrilling listening experience rarely captured in country music.

Written by Alan Jackson and Don Sampson

Grade: A

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  1. There have been countless songs written about Hank Williams; so many in fact that I would guess I’ve only even heard about 5% at most. Regardless of what the rest of them are like, few are this perfect. Jackson eschews mediocre homage in favor of a genuinely interesting song; it is easily one of the strongest songs in his admittedly impressive catalog.

  2. bobNo Gravatar says:

    Excellent review of one of AJ’s best songs. I’ve been trying to think of a song I could compare it to and I’m coming up empty so far.

  3. Erik NorthNo Gravatar says:

    I think there was one that David Allen Coe did, called “The Ride”, that might be worth mentioning as an homage to Hank Sr.

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