Alan Jackson has written with numerous other people before, but his new song, “Racing the Dark,” will always be special to him, because it was written with his daughter, Mattie Jackson Selecman. The song is being released along with her upcoming book, Lemons on Friday, which chronicles her journey of grief when her husband, Ben Selecman, died of a traumatic brain injury, after only 11 months of marriage.
Selecman passed away in September of 2018, after suffering injuries sustained in a boating accident while in Florida. The loss was not only devastating to Selecman, but to Jackson as well, who was enjoying having another male in the family.
“When he died, I was kind of pissed off at the world,” Jackson admits to HITS Daily Double. “I just wasn’t feeling right about anything. You know how I was raised: I grew up with four older sisters, then Denise and our three girls. It’s all I was ever around: girls and women. So having a son-in-law was having a boy I could fish with, work on cars and stuff with. It was tough losing him so suddenly—so jarring to all of us. I lost something I’d never had before.”
Jackson released the song “You’ll Always Be My Baby,” from his latest Where Have You Gone album. The song was written by Jackson for his oldest daughter’s wedding to Ben, meeting her then-future husband’s hearty approval.
“I think all three of them were very touched by it, but [what] I remember more was Mattie’s husband, Ben,” Jackson shares with UMG Nashville. “I remember we were at home and said we had written this thing. I had a rough demo of it or something. And we went out in the garage and sat in the truck because I didn’t have any way to play it in the house … We played it and I remember him looking emotional about it and saying that was just perfect or something to that effect. And that stuck with me.”
Lemons on Friday will be released on November 16 on Thomas Nelson / W Publishing Group. Jackson and his wife, Denise, wrote the book’s foreword. A download of “Racing the Dark” will be available for those who pre-order the book. Pre-orders for Lemons on Friday are available here.