Until about two months ago, I had no idea who Jade Jackson was but once I heard her album Gilded, I knew I had to get to know more about the woman behind such an interesting debut project. One of the first things I learned is that she may be the front woman but she is actually in a band, a tight band who plays the majority of the record.
“I didn’t want to just be a front woman with hired guns," says Jade Jackson. “Even though that was how the (management team) wanted it to be. I wanted to work with a band who I hand-picked, a band who came from the same place I did.”
That place, a small California town, informed Jackson so much that it is fitting that she is doing this her own way, on her own terms, even as she releases a country music-based record on Anti- Records, a label which has also released records from Merle Haggard, Porter Wagoner, Rambling Jack Elliott, Neko Case and Tom Waits among others. A small town where there wasn’t much to do after school except listen to music, music where some of these very same artists influenced her.
One other influence, Social Distortion, would be the first concert where Jade Jackson’s parents allowed her to go to the concert solo. It was a revolutionary moment and, years later, she’s now working with the band’s Mike Ness as both her producer and mentor. That concert was so life changing that it lit the fire and set her on a course which brought her to where she is now.
“When I saw that show, the way Mike Ness was on stage, all the energy of the crowd,” She says. “That was it. It was what I wanted to do with my life.”
The child of parents who didn’t want their children to live their lives on the internet or in front of a TV, Jade Jackson was already creating songs and poetry before that show but it was out of necessity of growing up in Santa Margarita, California. There just was nothing else to do and a bored teenager channeled her angst and feelings into songs.
It was her life and once everything coalesced into what eventually became Gilded. But before making the record, Mike Ness had one suggestion for her to do. Listen to Lucinda Williams’s Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.
“It was the roadmap, says Jade. “It had the kind of feel we were going for.”
And what a feel it is. Through the eleven songs on Gilded, we hear her sing about everything from relationships where she’s singing to a former love (“Aden”) to freedom (“Motorcycle”) and beyond her years wisdom of the true meaning of life (“Finish Line”) and with that she’s ready to take on the world with her band and record.
“I’m excited for people to hear the whole record,” Jade Jackson said. I am too, Jade. And I suspect that like Lucinda Williams and Social Distortion, we’ll be hearing from you for years to come too.