Country Superstar Alan Jackson, Sony Split

Alan Jackson and his record label, Sony Music Nashville, are splitting and his manager says the country music superstar is in negotiations with three record labels to find a new home.

The label announced the split in a short statement Thursday and the country singer with the trademark mustache and deep, rich voice confirmed it with a statement of his own a little later. The partnership started in 1989 when Jackson was the first artist signed to Arista Nashville, now a Sony imprint, and has yielded dozens of No. 1 hits and tens of millions in album sales.

“I’ve had a great run with Arista, going all the way back to the beginning of my career when I signed with Tim DuBois,” Jackson said in a statement released by his management company, the co-op. “I’ve gotten to work with some real great people along the way and we accomplished a lot. It just seems to me like the time may be right to change things up a bit and see what comes next.”

Photo: AP Photo
CMA Music Festival, Nashville, Tenn.

Jackson’s manger, Nancy Russell, told The Associated Press that Jackson could be close to closing a new record deal and said “there’s three options that look really good.” She said Jackson suspended the relationship in September, but agreed to work with the label on a greatest hits compilation released last fall.

“We’re actually excited about it,” said Russell, who is in her third stint as Jackson’s manager. “I’m a little sentimental about endings but it’s always fun to go with fresh starts.”

The 52-year-old singer, perhaps best known for his song “Chattahoochee,” has made an indelible mark on country music, helping to launch a return to the traditional sound of the genre at a time when it had gone glam in the 1990s. The two-time Country Music Association entertainer of the year has had 35 No. 1 hits, including “As She’s Walking Away,” his recent collaboration with the Zac Brown Band.

The statement from Sony thanked Jackson for “their long association and many hit records achieved as a result of that association.” The release called it “an amicable parting.” Spokesman Chris Melancon says Sony has no further comment.