Will Jackson’s On Fire on Songs from the Briarpatch LP

By Deuce

There’s an unavoidable candor in Will Jackson’s music, particularly on his most recent offering Songs from the Briarpatch (which is the name of the lab at which he laid most of this down). It’s easily displayed in the tone of his vocals, the titles of his songs (including odes such as “Gonna Get Me Killed”, “Won’t See Me in Heaven” and “Walking on Fire”) as well as in his lyrics.

This is an unabashed songwriter—among several other talents, more on that in a few—who admits that “all I wanna do when I’m drunk is drink”.  He manages to travel back in time on “Polaroid Parade”, detailing everything including the ex-wives cut out the frame of some flicks to make the listener quaintly reminisce about a different, most likely simpler, time and clime.

Ergo, when he pairs this penchant for frankness with his talent as a musician (most notably on the piano, acoustic guitar and electric guitar) it’s amazing what he comes up with. As is the case with the best of musicians, listening to his tracks is decidedly not like listening to songs, but rather experiencing experiences, if that makes any sense.

Just check the fine print on “Good Enough”, the second number and one of the only daring enough to successfully follow the lead-off “Looks Like Today”. This is music anyone would be privileged to wake up to daily, the sun streaming through the blinds or bare windows, the waves of guitar pouring over them, and suddenly feeling overcome with that overpowering sense that anything is possible, at that very moment, and that the day, as it were, is there’s to command.

But by far the most rousing number is the aforesaid “Today”. Not quite sure who’s banging on those live drums, or who the songbird in the back is picking him up on the hook, but this is as bracing a tune—and hell of a way to open up an album—as you’ve likely heard in quite a while. Just wait until Jackson puts down the acoustic guitars and goes for the electric one during a solo that simply takes you up and way, well beyond the organ and plenitude of other guitar parts.

One can’t fake these sensations, or rather, experiences, which goes right back to Jackson’s candor, and his wondrous way with music.

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