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CD REVIEW:   Jackson Ward - Goodbye Trouble (EP)

by: Cyrus Rhodes

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Artist: Jackson Ward

CD: Goodbye Trouble (EP)

Label: Spectra Records

Website: http://www.jacksonwardmusic.com/

Genre: Modern Country, Contemporary Country, Americana, Singer/Songwriter, Folk,

Sounds Like: Alan Jackson, Daruis Rucker, Billy Currington, Jake Owen, Jackson Aldean, George Jones, Dierks Bentley

Technical Grade: 9/10

Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 8/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: A Little While, The Grand Tour, I’m All In

Weakness: Winded Songs, EP release, Cover art concept

 

CD REVIEW:  

 

Jackson Ward hails from Richmond, Virginia and is quickly turning heads with its original country music sound. The band’s hit debut single “Goodbye Trouble (Drink by Drink)” is just a taste of what fans will hear on the upcoming debut album, “Goodbye Trouble”. Jackson Ward was formed in early 2013 and consists of six talented artists, all with an intense passion for country music. Band members include: Tony Jackson – Lead Singer, Bob Breckenkamp – Lead Guitar, Jeff Richardson – Rhythm guitar, VOX, Doug Walls – Steel guitar, VOX, Bryan Mitchell – Bass guitar and Jon Ward –Drums. Together, the band has created a musical experience that goes beyond regular country music. Jackson Ward remains true to its country roots while producing a fresh, soulful sound that has taken audiences by storm. Ward was recently signed to Spectra Records. This latest 5 track installment is entitled ‘Goodbye Trouble and was released in 2014.

 

The CD kicks things off with melodic “I’m All In” a full tilt Americana groove with methodical musical build, hooky chorus, inviting fiddles, well placed vocal harmonies and emotionally charged vocal delivery from Ward. Track 2 “A Little While” shifts gears a bit with another hooky groove, with melodic musical flow coupled with hooky melody and impressive slide guitar ambience. Next up the single Track 3 “Goodbye Trouble” (Drink by Drink) keeps things moving with its impassioned vocal feel, eventually lending itself into an infectious melody with clever, thought provoking lyrical content that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. As the CD unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of Alan Jackson, Daruis Rucker. Right from the start you will notice Jackson Ward feels quite comfortable just letting it all hang out musically, not holding anything back. The overall musical vibe has a nice Americana feel to it. Music is at times genuine, gripping, melodic, poppy and hooky with pockets of hope shining through. The Americana fretwork is world class across the board as Jackson Ward dish out impressive guitar licks. Also present are rock solid rhythm guitar playing, impressive Pedal Steel accents, fiddles, solo guitar, and well placed electric guitar accents all built upon a thick as a brick rhythm section. Jackson's got solid vocal timber and is full of passion and recklessness abandon. He’s got good vocal instincts within each movement he displays an impressive falsetto and inviting timber throughout. His vocal style reminds me of a cross between Alan Jackson, Daruis Rucker, Billy Currington, Jake Owen, Jackson Aldean and Dierks Bentley and even hints of George Jones. Jackson and company are gifted songwriters, storytellers and as a vocalist Jackson has enough soul to go around. The songwriting is brilliant and provides a lot of musical variety and emotion. Jackson's vocal emotions really seal the deal for me as he makes a strong emotional connection with the listener. Jackson really handles all the pin drop moments extremely well - this is a critical component of Singer/Songwriter/Americana often taken for granted, The musicianship from all the other members in the band has everything you would expect from a standard 4 piece Americana-Country band. The songs themselves are consistent musical experiences, each one possessing unique personality, flair and signature groove. From rocking “Been For Breakfast” to impassioned “The Grand Tour” 5 track CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 5 “The Grand Tour” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.

 

It’s hard to find any solid weaknesses with this production. All songs over 3.5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. I typically deduct 1 star for EP releases. The Full length releases is the best and most complete snapshot to judge an artists by at any give moment in time. Cover art misses the mark in the way it relates to the EP title - I don't get it. Who plays Piano on The Grand Tour"?

 

In close “Goodbye Trouble” 5 track (EP) by Jackson Ward delivers an impressive, passionate, impassioned, hooky 5 track musical teaser from Ward that upholds the highest standards in good Americana and Modern Contemporary Country. If Jackson Ward has an impressive live presentation then that would be a deadly combination no doubt. The songs are extremely melodic, passionate and highly entertaining – and clearly prove Jackson Ward are on to something special going down this path. At the end of the day Jackson Ward is a world-class band possessing a good lean look, infectious personality clearly worthy of worldwide recognition. One would be wise to keep a watchful on them over the years to come.

 

Cyrus Rhodes