If you have been following the site for more than around 20 minutes you will know that I am a fan of a country/Americana singer/songwriter that goes by the name Jackson Jones. We don’t cross paths all that often but it’s always a pleasure to chat to someone that passionate about music and who is very good at what they do.
This Friday night was notable for 3 things; firstly it was a beautiful sunny evening which meant that it had been sunny for 3 days in a row. (If you live in England you know how miraculous that shit is, if we have a warm afternoon we call it a heat wave) Mr Jones had a new drinks holder attached to his mike stand; it’s the little things in life that bring the most joy ladies and gentlemen. And finally as I was about to head home I ended up in a strange conversation about those drinks you got back in the 90’s as a kid where you used to drink them out of the carton upside down. (The notable thing about point 3 was not the topic of conversation but the fact I actually managed to have a conversation with members of the opposite sex without sounding like I was on day release)
That’s my crushing social awkwardness out of the way, let’s talk music shall we? You know the drill by now, we got a great mix of covers and originals with top chat, great beer in a brilliantly chilled out atmosphere. Things got started with a great rendition of ‘If Love Was A River’ by Alan Jackson. People often look confused when I start getting enthusiastic about country music but I challenge you to find a genre where you would get a song title like that, such a brilliant turn of phrase. A typically emotive version of Field Of Stone’ follows and the tone is for the night is well and truly set.
One of the other things that I love about country and Americana is the comedy you get in so many songs. I have written before how this basically only really happens in country and hip hop and is part of the reason why I hold both in such high regard. This light-hearted feel comes through on the Kieran Kane tune ‘Dirty Little Town’ and suits the atmosphere down to the ground. Up next was the first original of the night was ‘Fort Worth,’ a track with its roots firmly planted in Memphis.
‘Nothing Changes’ followed, a track high on emotion and feeling, and a song that was apparently written for the Royal British Legion. It’s one thing hearing the tracks recorded on an album but the delivery from Jones live and in person really brings the songs to life. ‘Days Of Nothing To lose’ is another original and is one of my favourite tracks from Jones. It’s perfect for long summer nights and is simply drenched in nostalgia. A cover of Rick Nelson’s ‘Garden Party’ followed a song which features the brilliant advice that is ‘Can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself.’ Wise words I’m sure you’ll agree.
‘Money In The Bag’ the story of a bank robbery with a twist, ‘Twang On A Wire’ and Jones’ heart-warming ode to his Father ‘Jack’ round out the first half. There was a nice buzz in the room as we all headed to the bar and to a man everyone has enjoyed the show thus far. There is nothing flashy and extravagant here, just a man, his guitar and some brilliant songs.
The 2nd half kicks off with more country humour in the shape of ‘The Road To Bayamon’ by Tom Russell. Jones is in fine form tonight laughing and joking with the audience as we go, there aren’t many better ways to spend your summer evenings trust me. We then get a semi-serious insight into the song writing of the man taking centre stage on the night as he reveals that up temp, rock n roll tinged ‘I don’t Know’ was penned after watching a particularly dull game on Match Of The Day. (That’s real insight people)
The nice ebb and flow of the set continues through ‘Till I Gain Control Again,’ and ‘Can You Hear Me On The Radio’ which leads us into a new track. ‘Modern Troubadour’ was written sat at Birmingham Snow Hill Station and encapsulates that classic Jackson Jones sound, acoustic guitar and great lyrics. The Willie Nelson classic ‘7 Spanish Angles’ rolls seamlessly into ‘Sunday Morning Coming Down’ described by Jones as the best song Kris Kristofferson ever wrote.
As things begin to wind to a close there is no dip in quality as Jones covers former Eagles hit ‘7 Bridges Road’ and glides into ‘Sing Me Back Home’ by Merle Haggard. If I wanted to try and describe country and Americana to someone I would tell them to listen to that song, there’s a glorious sincerity a feel good factor to it.
The evening comes to a close with a sterling rendition of Bob Dylan’s ‘Knockin On Heavens Door’ which just happens to be 1 of only 2 Dylan songs that I actually like, and this spin on a classic really does the song justice.
There isn’t much I can say about the artist known as Jackson Jones that I haven’t already said. When you see the man live you know exactly what you are going to get, there’s nothing overly elaborate, nothing flash, just a man who is extremely comfortable and extremely good at what he does. It’s a one man and his guitar act but that’s all it needs to be. If you’re looking for country and Americana with a Black Country twist, your list should only be 2 words long and those words should read Jackson Jones.