I’ve always felt that the best albums have been the ones that didn’t sound like a group of musicians crammed into a studio recording something to a metronome. Great records transcend the four walls of the studio and take us to the origin point of the band’s creativity, it’s artistic nucleus, whether that place be on the stage or on some spiritual plain not of this world.
When we listen to these albums, we’re connected directly with all of the emotion of the musicians; be it fear, happiness, seduction, anger, rejection, mourning. The texture of the rhythms and harmonies that are presented to us becomes almost physically tangible, like something that we can literally feel instead of just listen to. We lose control of our bodies and minds as our movement becomes synchronized to the band and our brains become entranced by whatever imagery the music is conjuring for us. It’s not even that we’re giving ourselves over to the band, it’s that we’re submitting ourselves to a shared experience being created by the stringing together of relatively simple sounds to make something bigger and more powerful than what we are.
It might sound complicated, and sometimes the process of making it happen is, but when it transpires before our very eyes and ears, it’s the easiest thing in the world to embrace. As a music journalist these are the types of records that I seek out on a daily basis to consume and discuss, and recently, I had the great fortune of finding one of these albums in none other than The Jackstones country rock anthology piece Love Badly, which is out now everywhere that independent music is sold.
Love Badly isn’t a greatest hits album, but it is nevertheless a very anthological piece of work for such a young band just getting their feet wet on the big stage. The Jackstones have been gaining a ton of momentum since they released What Brings You Here about four years back, and I must say that while I was only somewhat moved by their previous work, Love Badly showed me a band that has matured exceptionally and found their stride making energetic, blistering country rock delivered and breakneck speed – and you can officially confirm me as a fan.
Instead of beating around the bush like a lot of other alternative country bands who have had a hard time developing their prose beyond soliloquies and dated ironies that didn’t even work the first time around, The Jackstones spike us some stiff lyrics that evoke imagery of late night whiskey drinking, kicking back good times, honoring a sense of self and remaining true to ones’ identity. And the music – let’s just say that these cats didn’t hold back when it came to shelling out huge riffs and killer leads like none I’ve heard in country for a long time now.
What all of this boils down to is simple; if you haven’t already, or maybe didn’t give them enough of a shot to begin with, giving The Jackstones a listen should be at the top of any true music aficionados to do list this summer.
-review by John McCall