Jackson Melnick
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Jackson Melnick

Crested Butte, CO | Established. Jan 01, 2012

Crested Butte, CO
Established on Jan, 2012
Solo Americana Bluegrass




"WVTF Roots Down - Jackson Melnick"


"Song Premiere: Jackson Melnick “Raghse Zarrat”"

There’s something that’s both shiny and lilting, and grounded and sincere, about Jackson Melnick’s music.... - Americana Highways

"Brad Kolodner On-Air Interviews"

N/A - Bluegrass Country Radio

"Song Premiere: Jackson Melnick’s “Spirit Mother” ft. Molly Parden"

The Fretboard Journal is happy to premiere “Spirit Mother,” a new track from Colorado native, Jason Melnick.... - Fretboard Journal


N/A - The Bluegrass Situation

"Video Premiere: Trouble from Jackson Melnick"

Colorado’s Jackson Melnick is preparing to release his debut album in September... - Bluegrass Today

"Album Premiere: Colorado Folk N’ Roots Songwriter Jackson Melnick To Release Debut Album ‘Abilene’"

Colorado-born songwriter Jackson Melnick’s debut album Abilene, releasing September 24th, masterfully intertwines activism, spirituality, and his acoustic roots... - Music Mecca

"Crested Butte’s Jackson Melnick Sings About Farming Struggles On Debut Album, ‘Abilene’"

Jackson Melnick is a Crested Butte native who grew up going to bluegrass festivals and became an acoustic musician in his own right... - Colorado Public Radio

"Jackson Melnick: Abilene, By Way of Colorado"

We caught up with the up-and-coming singer-songwriter to talk about his new album, Steve Earle, social work, and making music in the mountains... - Westword


"Abilene" 2021 Produced by Christopher Henry



Colorado songwriter Jackson Melnick honors his acoustic roots, his interest in activism, and his abiding faith in humanity throughout his debut album, Abilene. Produced by esteemed musician Christopher Henry (Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band), the auspicious project positions Melnick as an important new voice in folk music, and also features accomplished bluegrass musicians such as Jason Carter, Matt Combs, Alex Leach, Tuck Tucker, and Cory Walker.

Although the arrangements draw on the traditional sound of Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley, among others, Abilene is at heart a songwriter’s record. Across these 10 tracks, Melnick combines his reverence for bluegrass with a lyrical point of view that is both mystical and topical. For example, right after a rousing opener of “John the Revelator,” Melnick moves to “Trouble,” which touches on suicides within the farming communities of the Owens Valley in California. It’s an epidemic he learned about while attending nearby Deep Springs College during a period of time when he began to hone his songwriting craft.

After that, “South of My Soul” offers a sincere testimony about wishing the best for the other person when a relationship dissolves. Written in the moment, it’s a cinematic yet poetic song that explores what it means to forgive and to heal. Truly, these emotional perspectives align well with Melnick’s career as a psychotherapist. 

“Being a therapist requires a lot of presence and raising consciousness, and I think that’s the kind of songwriter I’m interested in being, too,” he says. “I want to write songs that elevate the space to a higher mind of seeing things. I find that the themes in my music tend to be connected to that experience.”

In thoughtful songs like “San Diego,” Melnick reflects on a memory of receiving a text message during a road trip from someone he once loved, although their relationship ended badly. It’s a bittersweet occasion on the album, but one that rings true to anyone who’s made peace with the past. Meanwhile, the ambitious title track is rooted in two of Melnick’s primary musical inspirations: Bob Dylan and Guy Clark.

Melnick explains that he has long admired Mr. Dylan’s ability to write about the meaning of life; as for Guy Clark, it was his rare gift of composing lyrics that tell a story if you were simply to read them, without accompaniment. “I wrote ‘Abilene’ as a challenge to myself,” Melnick says. “I wanted to see how much I was capable of. I really worked on that song, I beat it up, and in that way it was a turning point for me. I realized that the more work you put in, the more you get out. Maybe this can be a career after all. I’ve been a lot less comfortable with a song being done after writing that song.”

Among the most eloquent tracks on the album, “Spirit Mother” echoes his affection for the seasonal world and the way those elements weave their way into his relationships. In addition, the idea for “Raghse Zarrat” came from a song he heard in a movie as a teenager, and whose origin was actually a Rumi poem. In contrast, the writing of “San Diego Pt 2” stems from the death of Elijah McClain, a young Black man killed by police in Colorado. Melnick then returns to mystical inspirations in “I See You,” written around Yom Kippur. Tapping into his Jewish faith, and indeed all faiths, is central to Melnick’s creative ambition.

The spiritual quest has been part of Melnick’s life almost from the start. Growing up in Crested Butte, Colorado, Within a few years, he learned to play guitar and started busking -- first singing John Denver and Steve Earle songs, then moving toward Dylan classics. Through most of his teenage years he hosted a weekly radio show on a local community station, too. But the most transformative moment may have been when he was 17 years old and saw a video of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings on stage.

“I was watching them and I felt like I knew exactly what they were doing, and how they did it. It was a sort of transmission, like, ‘I know how to do that,’” Melnick recalls. “Then I went to my guitar and I wrote three songs. They just sort of poured out and that was the beginning for me.”

~ Craig Shelburne

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