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Album Review: Tony Jackson – Self-Titled Debut

Tony Jackson

Artist: Tony Jackson

Album: Tony Jackson

Year: 2017

Label: DDS Entertainment/Sony-Red

Genre: Traditional Country/Classic Country

Tony Jackson with The Lovin’ Spoonfuls’ John Sebastian and Vince Gill for the recording and studio filming of “Nashville Cats”

Old Country has found a new voice in Tony Jackson. His debut album feels anything but with the names this Virginia Navy boy has on the roster. Recorded mostly at RCA Studios in Nashville, Tony Jackson features appearances by Country Music Hall of Famer and Opry Member Vince Gill, Paul Franklin a former member Barbara Mandrell’s road band back in the 70s, and current steel player for The Time Jumpers, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Sebastian, on the silky smooth revival of The Lovin’ Spoonful’s 1966 “Nashville Cats.” I’m warning you right now, that song is a dang earwig.

The twelve-track album has a healthy mix of old and new. The new, bringing a touch of the old back to the forefront with it’s swinging steel and heartfelt lyrics, and the old, a breath of fresh air and new life. The song that introduced me to Jackson’s deep, Randy Travis-esque vocals, however, was his cover of the George Jones classic, “The Grand Tour.” The video, posted on Country Rebel’s Facebook page back in 2016 now has nearly 40 million views making Jackson a bit of a viral sensation. Full disclosure, at least twenty seven of those were me alone. Jackson’s thick, twangy vocals make another cover on this record a stunning tribute to another legend. He hits Conway Twitty’s “It’s Only Make Believe” right out of the park, sending chills down my spine. Homerun.

Not to be outdone by the legendary penmanship of Bill Anderson (“I Didn’t Wake Up This Morning,” “They Lived It Up”), Bobby Tomberlin (They Lived It Up”), John Sebastian and Phil Gladstone (“Last Call”), it turns out that Jackson might just have the full package himself. Three songs on the record are written by Jackson himself, “Old Porch Swing,” “Drink By Drink,” and “She’s Taking Me Home.” Each song wonderfully displaying his lyrical maturity through the painting of memories, breakups, and love.

Tony Jackson might never fit in on the mainstream circuit with all the big dogs, but is that really such a bad thing? He has so much more potential as an artist than mediocre, easily drowned out airplay. With a voice like that, he’s already halfway there. Now let’s do our part as fans and get his name out there because it deserves to be on a plaque at The Grand Ole Opry beside the rest of the legends of country music.

Favourite songs: I Didn’t Wake Up This Morning, The Grand Tour, Old Porch Swing, They Lived It Up

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