Let's start with some honesty. When you think of a songwriter from Nashville straight away a certain sound comes to mind, right? Slide guitar, songs about pick-up trucks, chicken-licking fingerstyle picking? Jackson Aide's album “LOVE” is light years away from the country tracks you might be expecting from a Nashville based performer/songwriter. It's an energetic pop album that smacks of charm, heavy on the processing, and full of well crafted songs that outright pulse with dance vibes.
And, it's not fluff. Perhaps it is Jackson's Nashville legacy which adds realism to his lyrics – torn jeans, dusty streets, that elusive creature called 'love'. Jackson informed us that his themes revolve around “life and the reality of life” and “the pain, the sadness” of two lovers coping with the world drifting beneath their feet. His man-of-the-land vocal delivery carries his words with a legit attitude in a pop realm.
In retrospect, Jackson says that many of the influences he grew up, the stuff his parents listened to shaped his style, guys like Bob Seger, Bob Dylan and George Thorogood and a splash of Whitney Houston. It's clear that inspiration like these and others have shaped Jackson's attitude that a song should still speak when stripped down to just an acoustic guitar and a singer.
The LOVE album succeeds in carrying it's theme throughout the entire album. It was an outcome that Jackson worked hard to achieve - creating a sonic journey for the listener from the album's first track until the last. So here's a taste on what you expect to hear on LOVE.
The track 'Queen of Hearts/King of Spades' opens with some heavy synth layers creating a wash of atmospheric musical ambience. Before long the song kicks into the main body where Jackson's country lyrics and vocal approach transcend their origin and translate beautifully into the pop environment. The song cleverly outlines musical elements that are regularly visited throughout the album. It's not repeating something already done, but creating a winding thread flowing smoothly through the tracks that give the album a reliable wholeness. Even so, each track contains it's own uniqueness.
The title track 'LOVE' doesn't mess about at all. It drops right into a straigh-up danceable beat with a pumping bass line. Jackson's intentionally simple vocal melodies are catching and backed with furious keyboard layers. If that's not enough, the choruses push it up another notch with hip-swaying intensity and a background chant that makes you want to thrust your fist into the air. Tell it, brother! It's a charming pop song full of positive energy.
Later the acoustic based 'Wildflower' shows up. Acoustic guitars sit off to the side whilst Jackson's vocals come straight at the listener from centre stage. Layers of music populate the song with haunting synths and a bass guitar dwelling right in the sub level. It's a great concept for an acoustic ballad with layers that come and go, winding around the main body of the song, and not subtly either.
Songs aren't the only thing Jackson has a handle on. He creates all his own artwork from album covers to visuals at his social sites. He tells that the LOVE artwork is about the “themes, colors, and moments that the records holds”. He wanted it to be the visual aspect for the audio, capturing everything the record represented in art form. The album cover is a striking minimalist piece, bathed in hot pink and featuring little more than a bold neon sign, a few roses and a fine stack of vinyl records. It's a captivating piece that draws attention.
You can catch Jackson Aide live in his hometown of Nashville proving true to his word that a great song can glow with just an acoustic guitar and a good vocal delivery. For Jackson, throw in some mouth harp too and you've got everything you need to give a great live show. If you're out Nashville way make sure you check out Jackson Aide live and experience the solid roots behind his passionate pop album, LOVE.
Hit up Jackson Aide's webpage to hear to his tracks. You're in for a great sonic surprise. Follow his links to social media, check out up-coming gig dates and throw some support!