Hard Hat and a Hammer

Album: Freight Train (2010)

Songfacts®:

  • This tribute to the satisfactions of manual labor is the opening track from Country music artist Alan Jackson's sixteenth studio album, Freight Train. The song is one of eight on the disc penned by Jackson.
  • Jackson explained to The Boot why he kicked off this song and the album with some fiddles. He said: "I love that fiddle kick-off. I just knew when he first played that when we were recording, I said, 'That's gonna start the album.' Not that I'm trying to shove it in somebody's face, but I just liked that that it was so simple, just the fiddle by itself."
  • Jackson has an unusual musical credit on this track. He explained to The Boot: "I get a credit on this album [as a musician]. I play the anvil. 'Hard Hat and a Hammer' has an anvil in there. I said, 'Man, this thing needs somebody hitting an anvil with a hammer. [Producer Keith Stegall] came out to the house one day with his engineer because I've got an anvil that was my daddy's. It's mounted on a telephone pole and the back of it's broken off. He got it when he worked for the county farm. They gave it to him because it was broken, I guess. It stayed in our garage my whole life, daddy's shop garage. Man, I beat on a lot of parts and steel on that thing, and he did too. When he died, I got a lot of his stuff. And that anvil's in my car museum garage there. Keith came out and we took a hammer and it didn't sound right. Finally, we had to get two or three hammers and found one that sounded right. That's what's on the record. I sat there and beat on that anvil, so I get that credit... the hammer that worked was a hammer that had a steel handle instead of the wood. That's the one that sounded best. I think you hear the hammer more than you hear the anvil!"

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