Throughout his career, Alan has delivered albums of a consistently high quality, firmly rooted in traditional country yet managing to appeal to a wider audience - even sometimes including people who can't stand the music. Of course, I love country music and Alan has been one of my favorites ever since his incredible debut album on the Arista label, Here in the real world. This album is certainly one of Alan's best.
The standout track here is, of course, Where were you were you when the world stopped turning, about the attacks on New York and the Pentagon. Alan captured the mood of America and many other countries with this song. Close inspection of the lyrics shows that it is really quite a clever song - it asks everybody where they were when it happened, acknowledges all the victims, fire fighters and others involved, places his faith in God and admits to ignorance of Iraq and Iran. In the immediate aftermath, that's just what Americans wanted to hear. The success of this song ensured the success of the album, but one great song, however brilliant, does not make a great album. Do not worry - the quality of the other songs ensures that greatness.
Other highlights include the title track (about a father teaching his son to drive), Work in progress (an amusing song about a man failing to live up to a woman's expectations but trying to), Desperate drinker (a duet with George Strait) and First love (about a car that was three years older than himself).
The other songs are all brilliant, many of them exploring various aspects of love including A little bluer than that (about a man who has lost his woman to another man), Bring on the night (contrasting the tedium of work with the joys of love), The sounds (about a woman leaving her man), That'd be alright (about looking on the bright side of life), Once in a lifetime love, When love comes around (two songs about the joys of love) and I slipped and fell in love (about a new love).
Many people will acclaim this as Alan's best ever album. I'm not sure if I'd go that far but it's certainly a contender. With albums of such high quality, Alan manages to keep selling traditional country music in large quantities. Long may he continue to do so.