Jared Johnson & the Jackpines
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Jared Johnson & the Jackpines


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"Johnson, Jackpines Bring Old Rock Vibes to St. George Scene"

Jared Johnson and the Jackpines is a local band that brings an interesting new flavor to the live music scene in St. George.

Their classic rock sound with soulful lyrics is enough to catch the ear of fans of any type of music. Their newest release, "Derailing Spiritual Death," carries classic rock undertones with hints of Bob Dylan-styled song writing.

Jared Johnson, the band's lead singer and guitarist, said the band's classic rock feel comes from many different places.

"My influence is old rock and roll: the Stones, Tom Petty, real music," he said. "I was born 30 years too late. The music I'm writing appeals to older crowds, but we also have a lot of younger kids that come out and enjoy the music."

Johnson writes most of the band's songs and hires the band to play with him. According to the band's MySpace page, www.myspace.com/jjthejackpines, the record was produced by Johnson and Marcus Bently. It was recorded with the help of many talented musicians, some of which make up the current Jackpines lineup.

The album's eighth track, "Lean On You," will capture your attention with Johnson's clever word play and ensemble of acoustic guitar and banjo.

Johnson sings, "It takes what it takes, we all make mistakes, about loving."

Johnson is the core of the Jackpines and has been playing music for nearly his entire life. He has played alongside such artists as Cross Canadian Ragweed, The Mother Hips, Richmond Fontaine and Jerry Joseph & the Jackmormons. Johnson also instructs children at a local music school.

The Jackpines are trying to live the dream. With that dream comes hard times that all musicians must face.

"If I was in this for the money I would have gotten out a long time ago, but I still have guys in my band that I have to pay," Johnson said.

Jared Johnson and The Jackpines have several coming concerts in the St. George area, the soonest of which is Oct. 1 at Ancestor Square. The show is slated to begin at 7 p.m. and will be one of the final stops on the Jackpines' fall tour. Two more shows are scheduled for Oct. 24 and 25 in Washington and Cedar City.

To hear more of Johnson's song writing, visit the Jackpines' MySpace page or order "Derailing Spiritual Death" from http://cdbaby.com/cd/jaredjohnson.

Nick Mihalopoulos - Dixie Sun

"June & July concert reviews"

Review of Red Rock Music Festival:
Jared Johnson & the Jackpines rocked the stage next with an incredible, original set. With truly inspirational lyrics from Jared, and tight, mystifying jams, this band is a major force to be reckoned with on all levels of music, especially with their unique live sound. They played a great version of Deal, which left any Deadhead speechless.

June 2009

Review of Summer Jam:
Jared Johnson & the Jackpines once again performed like the rock stars they are. Fresh from a gig in Idaho, these guys played a set of originals that are quickly becoming classics. If you are looking for something to do, I highly recommend catching a full show.

July 2009

Noah Backman - The Independent

"Local Artist Is A Breath of Fresh Air"

*** 1/2

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jared Johnson is no new-comer to the Southern Utah music scene, but his latest release is a breath of fresh air.
Back in the late '90's he played guitar for Sundive and drums for the Trigger Locks. He brings both of those talents and more to his solo debut, "Derailing Spiritual Death."
Style-wise, "Derailing Spiritual Death" is closer to the roots rock sound of the Trigger Locks than the moody, alternative rock of Sundive. Like early Jayhawks releases, Johnson embraces a true Americana/country-rock sound that manages to incorporate both classic western themes and catchy tunes.
"El Paso", one of the album's highlights, is better than most songs you'll hear on country radio today, but in many ways it is also too country for country radio. This is real country music: The kind you expect to hear from Willie Nelson - not the twang pop that dominates the genre today.
"I should have left you in El Paso," sings Johnson in his slightly gravelly, but melodic voice, embracing the heartache that so often accompanies the genre. A sweet pedal steel guitar from Dan Salini rounds out the song as Johnson pulls out traditionally country, but poetic lyrics: "Now I'm feeling the pain from a lover who remains here by my side."
At times the lyrics seem a little forced when they don't quite match up rhythmically with the music, but the storytelling format of the tunes embraces the style and softens the effect. For the most part Johnson comes off as an impressive storyteller.
Johnson himself is responsible for much of the music, playing guitar, bass, drums, percussion, banjo, and Rhodes piano. But 10 other musicians step in to fill in the gaps like Mikel Azpiroz's pervasive organ on tracks like "Star-Spangled Dreams." Salini's musical touches are apparent on many tracks as he contributes pedal steel, lap steel and fiddle, giving songs like "Golden Road" a genuine country sound.
Horns even enter the mix on the rhythmic "Cracked Keys" and "Shining Down", one of the standout tracks. "Shining Down" benefits from Johnson's soaring vocals and an instrumental duel between the horns and Johnson's electric guitar. Meanwhile gospel-like backing vocals flesh it out. It's pure alt-country heaven.
"Fool In Love" features one of Johnson's most intriguing melodies as he sings about pin-up queens "dressed in sexy things." But they don't mean a thing to him because he's a fool in love.
"Lean On You" also has an interesting melody that drastically improves when the electric guitar, bass and drums finally kick in - nearly three minutes into the song - to add some necessary meat.
Although the entire album has that Americana/alt-country sound, the tracks vary stylistically within the genre. "Don't Tread On Me" sounds like a rowdy, barroom jam with Jerry Lee Lewis-style piano pounding and a mean guitar solo from Johnson offsetting the fun-loving yet forceful lyrics: "You can get what you want, but don't you dare tread on me."
"Long Train Comin'" is another jam-heavy track, stretching past the six-minute mark as all the instruments come out in full force. And a strong, steady percussion backs organ-heavy instrumental breaks on "Down Home Summer."
"The Loser" kicks off with a mean guitar lick and a catchy tune, though Johnson's synthesized vocals can be a bit distracting. Despite a few weak spots, though, "Derailing Spiritual Death" provides an album-full of tuneful roots rock and pensive lyrics.
On "Right From the Start" Johnson sings, "I don't have time for new beginnings." Hopefully that doesn't apply to his latest musical venture. This is a good beginning. "Derailing Spiritual Death" is available at local music retailers like CD Warehouse in St. George and Groovacious in Cedar City.

Brian Passey
11/30/2007 - The Spectrum

"The Return of Jared Johnson"

It's been pretty close to a decade since I first met Jared Johnson. It was a time when the local music scene - yes, there really used to be one - was going through a major transition. The Younger Brothers were splitting up, the dissolution of the Solutions was nigh and the Acoustic Concert series was running on numbered days. Beneath the surface, however, a groundswell of new talent was percolating and before you knew it, exciting stuff was happening all over the joint. It seemed like overnight there were a bunch of good new places to play and every show was standing room only. Still, without a doubt, the boat that bore the banner upon this sudden sea change was the first Home Grown compilation album. With only a few exceptions, just about everybody that was destined to shine on the local stage, during the five-year period when music was really going on in St. George, could be found on that album.
No one can argue that the centerpiece of that first home Grown comp was the album creator's own band Solace (later and better known as Sundive). In the wake of the stunning vocal tsunami turned in by the diminutive Debi Graham, an entire scene flowed in and took root. Everybody wanted to be a part of it, including an stoic, brooding young guitar player named Jared Johnson. The first time I saw Jared was on stage at Ancestor Square and to be honest I was scared of him. He was the latest addition to Solace/Sundive's lineup and I remeber Debi telling me he'd only been in the band a few days.
Cut to a few years later when a few talented boys got together and started fooling around with some Alt. Country tunes. Most of these guys - Nate and Mike Torguson and Shawn Taylor - had been in Sundive, or helped write some of their songs, but were formulating a sound that would eventually gel into the Trigger Locks. Matt Hanson was the absentee co-leader of the outfit, but eventually both bands Sundive and Trigger Locks would join him in Salt Lake City. Sundive had just released their studio debut and were ready to try their fortune in the new market and Nate and Matt were hard at work writing the songs and prepping the Locks for the studio. Not too long after all these folks left town, the second Home Grown compilation would put the book-end to St. George's brief but productive and truly memorable time as a mini-Mecca of great original music.
As these things tend to go, Sundive would eventually implode under the pressure of pending marriages and too much of the bohemian conditions. Far from ready to throw in the towel, however, Jared picked up the drum sticks, put together a kit and joined up with the Trigger Locks in the only spot available. With their lineup now locked in, the Triggers holed up in the studio to record their debut and were soon on the road to promote it. Though the road would eventually claim the band, they were without question high among the very best musical acts this area ever produced. The good news I've come to bear is that perhaps the best songwriter of the whole lot of them was back there hiding behind his cymbals and long hair the whole time. I hadn't seen Jared for three or four years and of all the places to bump into him, there he was at sacrament meeting. His hair was a little bit shorter, he was clean shaven and there was a light in his eyes that I'd honestly never seen before. I'd also never heard him speak or seen him smile. Wow. He introduced me to his wife Kristine (the younger sister of the Younger Brothers' Phil Theobald just to bring things full circle) who has just delivered their first child, a healthy boy named Rohan.
Afterwards, he slipped me a copy of his other new baby, his first album with his band, the Jackpines, aptly titled 'Derailing Spiritual Death'. I can't tell you how surprised I was to hear what Jared has been up to. Certainly a far more accomplished and sure-fingered guitarist than he was back in the day, he's delivered 12 well-produced, nicely crafted tracks that have really stuck themselves in my head. As the title suggests, the overriding theme of the record is personal redemption and finding one's way home after years traveling life's many winding roads, but don't mistake it for Christian music. This is good, old-fashioned Alt/Country in the tradition of Gram Parsons, and contemporaries like Whiskeytown and the Jayhawks.
Each song on the record has its own distinctive feel and there is an exceptional diversity, ranging from slower, plaintive ballads, more mainstream rockers and honky-tonk toe-tappers to Country-inflected Pop tunes. A loose, freewheeling sensibility threads the tracks together and the deeper you go, the better it gets. Most of the songs are personal, but not in any hokey or pretetious way. He lets us in pretty close at times but there's a sincerity about it that makes it work. Thematically, the majority of the songs speak to the wisdom of resisting the gilded pleasures and pretty poisons of the world in favor of the things that matter - learn from your mistakes and try to use it to better yourself and become a stronger person. All of which he manages without being in the least bit preachy. Jared speaks as someone who's been down those lost highways and is grateful to have pulled out before it was too late.
Speaking of too late, my favorite song is probably "Down Home Summer", which is mostly a cleverly veiled metaphor about Judgment Day: "Repo Man is coming - He's not quite here, he knows where we are, Repo Man is coming - chaining your axel to a post ain't gonna help you at all." The following track, "Shining Down", has some really sweet harmonies that brings to mind local faves the Mother Hips. Also impressive is the musicianship. Jared's guitar breaks and solos are well composed; they're never indulgent, lengthy improvs, but compact and riff-based licks that are designed as song parts, rather than showy flash. His drumming is also right in the pocket, so much so that you rarely notice it - which is perfectly suited to his music and high praise in my book. Branden Campbell's and Brian Jones' bass playing is exceptional, running a lot of counterpoint lines that add complexity to the songs without stepping on them (Jared plays bass on a track as well). Keyboard duty is shared between Mikel Azpiroz, Marcus Bently (who co-produces with Jared) and Jared. Jared also handles most of the percussion responsibilities and banjo on a track. Again the production is particularly tasteful and if you listen carefully there are a lot of clever touches that really dress up the arrangements and make the project all the more interesting.
The only knock I could point to is the fact that, like so many songwriters, Jared is not a natural born crooner and, at times, his vocals are a bit thin. On the other hand, he gets the songs across because he knows them like children and never has to guess when to ramp up the emotion or where the inflections should be. His voice will improve with age and experience, and just like with Bob Dylan, once you're used to it, it becomes part and parcel of the deal. I should also point out that his harmonies are spot on and when he doubles up it sounds quite good. Overall it's a terrific piece of work; there isn't any filler or a throwaway track in the dozen. Jared has laced these tunes with plenty of hooks, many of them subtle, that only catch on your second or third spin.
This is a very impressive, well-thought out cycle of songs that you'd do well to get your hands on. To do so, you can go to CD Warehouse in St. George, Groovacious in Cedar City, Randy's Records, Slowtrain, and Positively 4th Street in Salt Lake, or buy it directly from his myspace site. Downloads are available from a variety of on-line music sites including: iTunes, Tradebit and Rhapsody.

Kevin Jones
10/1/2007 - The Independent

"Album Reviews"

*** 1/2

It takes a lot to make anything involving mustaches sentimental, but Johnson somehow succeeds by writing lines like "Dirty mustaches wearing thin at the seams/ And my last dollars I've spent" that make you want to cry. Playing a heavy mix of alt-country and Southern rock in the style of Lucero, Johnson never fails to find the balance between honesty and rocker-swagger that endures throughout the album. With such a solid performance, it's easy to forgive the extended solos on the plodding final song, "Long Train Comin'."

Ryan Bradshaw
12/06/2007 - Salt Lake City Weekly

"JJ & The Jackpines mix Rock, Country, & Soul"

Jared Johnson & The Jackpines Mix Classic Rock, Country and Soul

At a time when most local music seems to fall into either the singer-songwriter or punk/emo/alternative categories, Jared Johnson and the Jackpines are bringing a classic country rock sound to Southern Utah.

Johnson describes his music as "old-fashioned rock 'n' roll with a generous helping of country and soul to boot." He counts influences as diverse and legendary as Tom Petty, The Band, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings.

He also mentions the Rolling Stones ("I think we've got some of that kind of swagger to our music") and Neil Young with Crazy Horse ("There's a ragged looseness we have that I really like").

Although Johnson acknowledges that the classic country sound of Nelson, Jennings and George Jones may not be as popular as the hits coming from today's Nashville scene, he says it is still relevant.

"I think it'll always be relevant because it's so good," he says. "There's not a whole lot of new music that's really good."

More contemporary artists like genre-bending Beck and the country rockers in Wilco are also among Johnson's favorites.

Johnson discovered many of his influences in his father's record collection as a boy. That's where he found artists like Stones, Cat Stevens and Pink Floyd. He also explored his own interests, passing through a short hip hop phase before rediscovering rock through Pearl Jam.

At about the same time, he began to make his own music, beginning to play the guitar at 12 and playing in his first band at 15 or 16. Locally he played guitar with the alternative rock group Sundive before moving to Salt Lake City to play drums for the Trigger Locks. Eventually he found his way into a drummer slot for Cub Country.

Johnson quit Cub Country in May 2007 when he moved back to St. George. During his time with Cub Country, however, he had been working on his first solo record, "Derailing Spiritual Death," a country rock barnburner that formed the basis for much of his current live act with the Jackpines. A variety of friends played on the record, which came out in October 2007.

After moving to St. George, Johnson formed the first version of the Jackpines and played with them up until a few months ago. During that time they even opened for fellow country rockers, the nationally touring Cross Canadian Ragweed, at the Electric Theater.

"I was stoked to be on that bill," Johnson says. "We were tight, but it wasn't the sound I was hearing in my head. But now with the new lineup we're hitting that sound."

The new lineup debuted this summer during a June CD release party at the Electric Theater for the Southern Utah Song Writers Association's new compilations. The lineup includes Dan Worthingon on bass, his wife - Marcia Worthington - on acoustic guitar and backing vocals, John Houston on Hammond organ and keyboards, and Ted Jensen on drums.

"It's going really well," Johnson says of the new band. "I'm really stoked on the guys I got right now."

The band had only played together once before its debut at the June show but Johnson says he thinks they still sounded great. He says he would have been happy even if they never played together again.

The Worthingtons have actually been with Johnson since December of last year and Dan Worthington says he has enjoyed the experience.

"I really love playing with the band. I have a deep respect for Jared's music and his roots," he says, comparing the music to buying a set of pre-washed Levis. "It's something that feels familiar but it's new."

Worthington also cites country rock influences such as the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers. Their similar musical influences have made it easy to play together.

"It's just been a natural fit," Worthington says. "It's almost uncanny how we feel the same music."

Johnson is now working on a second album, but this time he hopes to cut it live with the Jackpines in the studio. Johnson says he likes the natural energy that comes from recording live.

He expects the new record to be in a similar country rock vein, but maybe a little less country and a little more rock 'n' roll.

"I'm feeling more rock 'n' roll these days," Johnson says.

So far Johnson has eight songs written. He plans to record about 15 tracks and cut it down to 10 songs or so for the album.

Worthington says Johnson is the primary songwriter, providing the structure of each song, but the band will also play a part in the final sound.

"He turns us loose to come up with the parts that will fill that song out," Worthington says. "He brings us the skeleton and we put the flesh on the bones."

Jared Johnson and the Jackpines will next play a free show the evening of Oct. 1 to close out the SUSWA Fall Concert Series at Ancestor Square, on the corner of Main Street and St. George Boulevard, in St. George.

Following, the band plans to perform with Eric Dodge for a big show Oct. 24 at Staheli Farm in Washington City. They will also play Oct. 25 at Mike's Tavern in Cedar City.

Brian Passey
9/19/2008 - The Spectrum (Where It's @)


Derailing Spiritual Death - LP

1. Right From the Start
2. Golden Road
3. Star-Spangled Dreams
4. Don't Tread On Me
5. Cracked Keys
6. El Paso
7. Fool In Love
8. Lean On You
9. The Loser
10. Down Home Summer
11. Shining Down
12. Long Train Comin'



Jared Johnson and the Jackpines' debut is made of songs that chart out the corners of El Paso motel rooms, warm summers and the mind of a last-chance rock-n-roller; songs about jumping the rails and getting back on; little sparks that stir the dust of an old window sill or a still older country road, make it take shape and dance. Johnson�in his first outing as a solo artist�has crafted a set that pays loving and even-handed tribute to the work of George Harrison, Badfinger and Mick Taylor-era Rolling Stones. This is, at its foundation, western rock �n� roll but the bright hooks and harmonies of the coast are never too far away. If you�ve been out wandering in the weeds, or digging the very holes you end up tripping at, Johnson�s songs will make a whole lot of sense; if not, listen close�he tells a pretty good story.
- Dirt Shores, Oxford, MS

Jared Johnson grew up in Southern Utah and has played guitar and drums professionally for ten years; playing guitar for St. George ska ensemble The Goo Blurs and alternative rock favorites Sundive. After moving to Salt Lake City he joined forces with Alt. Country masters the Trigger Locks, this time on drums, and in 2007 completed a stint as drummer for national act and critically acclaimed Cub Country. He produced his record, Derailing Spiritual Death, with Marcus Bently; the two of them doing a sizable chunk of the work, with help from several talented musicians. The sound created is reminiscent of a time long gone, but not forgotten; borrowing elements from the roots of rock, country, and the blues. His new band, the Jackpines, picks up right where the record leaves off. Johnson has shared the stage with numerous great artists including: Cross Canadian Ragweed, The Mother Hips, Richmond Fontaine, Jerry Joseph & the Jackmormons, Robert Earl Keen, Lucero, Young Dubliners, Reel Big Fish, Berlin, Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash, The Aquabats, and Convoy, among others