craig jackson
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craig jackson

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | INDIE

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | INDIE
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter


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"damn the roses review"

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Recommendation: Damn the Roses – Craig Jackson
Posted by Carolyn Dixon in Recommendations. Tagged: albums, Americana, Craig Jackson. 5 Comments

A few minutes into his song “Our Last Time” it becomes apparent that Craig Jackson either greatly respects his audience or grossly underestimates it.

How else can one explain his decision to open his new album Damn the Roses with a song that stretches over six minutes in the current “here today, forgotten in three minutes” climate? He is either confident enough to know that his listeners will value the track’s extended instrumental breaks or crazy enough to believe that they won’t simply turn the song off.

(For the record, I lean on the side of respect and confidence.)

Jackson, an Americana artist based in Nashville, assumes responsibility for the entire record by writing/co-writing all the songs, enlisting several musician friends to play on songs, and producing the work. The success or failure of the project falls squarely on his shoulders. Credit the man for having the courage to trust himself and his audience.

In truth, “Our Last Time” sets the tone for Jackson’s fifth studio effort, a leisurely paced mix of folk, country, and rock. However, leisure should not be confused with laziness. From his unforced delivery to the steady instrumentation that lifts his lyrics, Damn the Rose is as much an exploration of time as it is of heartbreak. Not content to follow standard story arcs, Jackson does not confine the characters in his songs to neat resolutions. There’s a sense that the characters have a history that cannot fully be captured over the course of a song. Much is left to the imagination, yet Jackson does not cheat his audience.

One of Jackson’s strengths is the fact that he does not overreach. He does not pretend that the run-of-the-mill is revelatory nor does he try to impart shallow wisdom. Instead he provides snapshots of life and allows the smaller moments to speak for themselves.

The afore-mentioned opening number “Our Last Time” follows a couple on the outs, which is apparently a common occurrence for the duo who have always managed to weather previous storms. “These two hearts intertwined have always gotten by…This won’t be the first time for our last time,” Jackson explains. The song’s length and instrumentals mirror the ambivalence, regret, and ultimately probable reconciliation of the couple in question.

Contrary to its harsh name, the title track “Damn the Roses” is the only semi-happy number on the record. The roses are symbolic of a devoted couple’s journey together, from first bloom to the inevitably thorny end (in this case, through death). The theme of great beauty being accompanied by the opportunity for great pain is one that runs throughout the album.

The album’s most intriguing imagery occurs in “Slipstream,” a series of seemingly disparate visuals that only serve to remind the song’s protagonist of a past love who has since moved on. Jackson manages to convey the loss his character feels without delving into bitterness or recriminations. “If you ever fall out of love consider me,” he pleads during the bridge in what may be the album’s most heart-rending moment. It’s the kind of nakedly honest performance that even the relationship-wary can appreciate.

Among other highlights on the album, “1941” thoughtfully references the death of a young soldier during World War II and its impact on his parents and his beloved, although the song could actually apply to any soldier during any war. Surprisingly the album’s piano-driven closing number “Broken” is its shortest, clocking in at slightly less than three minutes. In the lyrically sparse song, Jackson makes one simple request: “Don’t give up on me.” The song feels a bit unfinished, perhaps a promise of the life yet to come. Those who have held steadfast through the musical journey on Damn the Roses will undoubtedly look forward to its continuation.

Official Site | Myspace

5 Responses to this post.
Posted by Delayed Ashley Monroe Album Finally Earns Release Date | The 9513 on April 27, 2009 at 10:55 am

[...] Sunburst’s Carolyn Dixon recommends Damn the Roses from Craig Jackson, which she describes as a leisurely paced mix of folk, country, and [...]

Posted by Ana Lee on April 29, 2009 at 11:33 am

While the songs on Damn The Roses definitely break from the traditional 3 to 3:30 mark in length, it really doesn’t matter. The songs are good enough to keep the listener interested because they flow so well, lyrically and musically. This is a well crafted collection of songs and sounds. Even though the subject is not necessarily happy, “Don’t Mean Nothin’” is an upbeat song with a great hook. It’ll stick in your head and you’ll find yourself happily singing the chorus over an over. I would also recom - melodic sunburst


Gary Moore, D.J., KLOS 95.5/Los Angeles

"We received a lot of great calls after playing Craig Jackson's CD, Last House on the Left."

Bill Hartew, Producer, KLOS 95.5 Local Links/Los Angeles

"A great CD, one of the best we've received. I like it so much we played five cuts."

The Gavin Report

"Up and coming artist. Ten adds, 2/1-2/9, 1999, for first single, Blinded by Love. Top 40." - gavin report/radio/in stores/newspapers

"artist review"

Music Connection Magazine

"An accomplished musician with a distinctive, lyrical style and prolific songwriting abilities, Craig Jackson is bringing back a renewed sense of intimacy to the ever changing vein of rock music.

Craig's latest release on Green Records is the C.D. Last House on The Left,produced by Craig and Barry Fasman, British Producer of the Year in 1985 with many gold records to his credit. The record is full of jangly guitars, soaring harmonies and the good old piano and Hammond B-3 organ. A very organic and rootsy record.

A cross between Glenn Frey, Jackson Borwne and Tom Petty...this is a pro all the way around....Here is a case of an artist that should be meeting with Publishers and A&R Reps to discuss career plans." - music connection

"a&r report"

Kenny Kerner, A& R Report

"Coming off like a cross between Glenn Frey, Jackson Browne and Tom Petty, Craig Jackson displays his wares in songwriting, singing and production and scores very well in each and every category. The production is extremely Eagles-ish, which works well with jackson's voice. The finale of this four-song submission is a great ballad called "A Place in The Sky." With its poignant lyrics sung a la Roger McGuinn, this last selection alsohappens to be the most memorable. Here is a case of an artist that should be meeting with producers and A&R reps to discuss career plans. My advice would be to get ahold of Craig's demo tape and give it a good once over. You won't be sorry." - kenny kerner

"howard rosen promotions"

Howard Rosen Promotions

"We believe in Craig Jackson as an up and coming artist. We had over two dozen a/c stations playing the first single against very heavy established artists with NEW records in the fall and have ten adds with Top 40 in the first two weeks of new promotion. Craig made print in the Gavin Reports up and coming three weeks in a row.

Craig's song, In a Heartbeat and Waiting in the Wings from his first Green Records release Make it Right were featured in the film "Murder Weapon." The songs were recorded with Craig and various musicians from Elvis Costello, Paul Carrach, Mister Mister and Toy Matinee's Bands. - howie

"grunion gazette"

At Club Level by Pete Brooks

"A couple of years ago I reveiwed singer/songwriter Craig Jackson's CD "Last House on the Left" under the headline "The Best Tom Petty Album By Someone Other Than Tom Petty." As usual when I get too clever for my own good, ever since then I've lived in fear of running into him around town.

When I finally did run into him recently at the Prospector, I talked to him for about 10 minutes before I realized this was the same guy I had been so cutesy with in my column. I asked him if he knew who I was, and he began to quote my review back to me verbatim.


Oh well. I knew this job was dangerous when I took it.

Besides, I meant what I said in the very best way. I've never heard Jackson give anything less than a spot-on professional, engaging performance, then or now. - pete brooks


damn the roses - # GR-005
spanish rain - # GR -004
midwest - # GR- 003
last house on the left - # GR -0002
make it right - # GR-001



Singer/songwriter Craig Jackson is considered part of a new breed of Nashville Americana artists, and with his fifth and latest album, Damn The Roses (Green Records), Jackson enlisted the help of some very talented musicians, songwriters and engineers. Recorded at Cabin in the Woods Studio in Fairview, Tennessee, Jackson’s smooth vocal delivery was married with solid arrangements and flowing melodies to create a warm feel, and the perfect vehicle to deliver his stories of heartbreak and longing.
Standout tracks on Damn The Roses include “Don’t Mean Nothin’” a catchy, upbeat song about loneliness that will stick in your head and have you happily singing the chorus over and over. “Every Time You Leave” is a Tom Petty style rocker featuring some stellar guitar work, and Jackson’s vocals are complemented nicely by Meghan Whalen. The simple two-part harmonies make for a very intimate listen, especially on the lush sounding “Cryin’ Game”. “1941” let’s you inside a family’s pain from the loss of a son in World War II, but the lyrical content is equally relevant today.
Damn The Roses is the follow-up to 2006’s Spanish Rain, also released on Green Records. Along with each of Jackson’s previous albums, including Midwest, Last House on the Left, and Make It Right, his songs have seen plenty of nationwide radio airplay, prompting The Gavin Report to name Craig Jackson as one of its up and coming artists. His songs have been used in films such as “Murder Weapon” and others. Jackson, who has toured extensively, is planning to hit the road regionally this summer in support of Damn the Roses.
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Mike Farley
Michael J. Media Group