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by Keavin Wiggins

We are always on the lookout for cool unsigned bands for this series. So far we have spanned the globe trying to bring you some of the best emerging bands on the planet. This month’s feature band is no exception. The Josh Jackson is a promising up and coming rock band that packs plenty of melody, power and emotion into their music. 

It all started when I got a email from a fan telling me to check this band out. I saw that they were from Nashville and automatically my mind jumped to the conclusion, ok another southern fried rock band but surprisingly once I jumped over and listened to a couple MP3’s I knew they were on to something and it isn’t southern rock!  

So take a few minutes and get to know the band through this interview with the group’s namesake and then head on over to their website to check out the music and if you like it pick up a copy of their new CD. 

RNW: Let’s start off with an obvious one, how did the band come together?

Josh: This band was started from "solo" project I was doing back in 1999. At that time, I was looking for players to back me up and to record on my album. Jason Hollis (bass) and I had been performing together since 1995. Kris Crawford (drums) was familiar to me through a friends band and had filled in for me a couple of times. Locke Sandahl came on a recommendation from a friend I worked with. So, I guess this group as a core has been together solidly since the end of 1999. I changed the name to The Josh Jackson Band in 2002 to coincide with the release of the new CD.

RNW: And where has the journey taken you so far?

Josh: So far, the journey has not taken us too far, physically that is. We tend to mostly play in Middle Tennessee. Where we have come a long way is in our sound. We are much tighter now, we are playing more and our sound is coming into it's own. We are turning into more of a "pop/rock" band, when we first started we had more of a rootsy sound. We still showcase our roots side every now and then, but the new CD is definitely more of a rock offering.

RNW: Where would you place your sound in the musical spectrum?  In other words, how do you describe yourselves to those who haven’t heard you?

Josh: I describe our music as pop/rock to most people. When they hear us, most people compare us to Vertical Horizon, Train, The Gin Blossoms, etc.

RNW: What inspired you to first make music?

Josh: I had a good friend in college who was a singer songwriter and was always borrowing my tape recorder to record new songs. I would watch him and say "I bet I could do that...." 

Next thing you know, I was learning to play guitar and actually ended up singing backgrounds and playing percussion for this guy in the group called Dead Lettuce. We played his originals as well as acoustic versions of The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, 
REM and Drivin N' Cryin.

RNW: On that same token, Who are your biggest influences?

Josh: My biggest influences would be Bon Jovi, Drivin N Cryin, The BoDeans, Gin Blossoms and singer songwriters like Nick Drake, Shawn Mullins and Jeffery Gaines. I guess you would have to throw in newer acts like Vertical Horizon, Train and Sister Hazel as well. Even though we may not sound like any of these groups, they have all rubbed off on me in one way or another.

RNW: If you only had one chance to win a fan over with one song. Which song would you use, that you think best represents what you are all about?

Josh: I would say, Next Best Thing. It is a rockin' pop tune that I feel like is a very well written, very original tune. It is a lot of fun to play live and we really seem to unleash the energy on this one. 

RNW: What is your song writing process like? Does one person come up with the songs and the rest of the band add their parts to it or is it a full group effort?

Josh: So far, all the songs have been written by myself and my good friend Arlis Albritton. We usually will write them and then record a work tape and bring it to the band. Each member then lays his own flavors to it. This is how it has worked in the past but, I am hoping we can get the whole band a writing credit on our next release.

RNW: You are based out of Nashville. People automatically think of country music when you say Nashville but what's the rock music scene like out there?

Josh: The rock scene is surprisingly good. You could go to a club never hearing of the band playing and 90% of the time be blown away. There are so many great singers, songwriters and performers in Nashville it is ridiculous.

RNW: You guys have already made quite the impression on your hometown audience, winning a couple awards in a local readers poll. Can you give us the details on that?

Josh: In 2002 we were voted "Best New Band" and "Best Local Rock Band" by a local 
entertainment newspaper, The Nashville Scene. We were totally blown away by that! Since then, we have also gained a few other accolades as well. Music Row Magazine, a national "industry" music magazine based here in Nashville, gave us a very favorable review of the album and the local Shure Microphones rep. came out to the studio were we were recording and took some photos and placed them on their website. The media has been very kind to us in 2003.

RNW: You guys have only been together a relatively short time but have already released two CD’s. First, is there a big difference between the two CD’s?  Second, So our readers can check you out. How can they hear your songs or buy your CDs?

Josh: There is a huge difference in the two CD's. The first CD was my solo material and was basically a "demo" we recorded in a friends bedroom on an 8-track reel to reel. It was very rough. The style was a little different as well. Lots of acoustic instruments, guitar, mandolin etc. Like I said before, the new CD is more of a "rock" record: lots of electric guitar flavors, very little acoustic. We recorded in a great studio (Dark Horse Recording) where many Nashville artists record: Faith Hill, Jars of Clay etc. It was my first time recording in a "real" studio, anything we needed we got, it was a great experience. Our producer, Chuck Davis, really pulled out all the stops for us and did a great job. To hear our music and buy it people can check us out at our website: www.thejoshjacksonband.com or on www.MP3.com/JJB

RNW: What are your favorite tracks from the new CD?

Josh: My favorite tracks are Next Best Thing, Out of Reach and So Do I.

RNW: What’s the collective goal for the band?

Josh: Our main goal is to just have fun. The first time this ever seems like a job to me, I'm outta here. This is a major release from day to day life for me and I want to keep it that way. At this point we are looking for quality over quantity. Most bands will accept any gig on a whim, but I like to weigh all the options and see what is going to help us out best in the long run.

RNW: What do you think of the current state of rock? Any bands that do it for you?

Josh: Rock is interesting right now. When I grew up "heavy metal" was on the charts. Now it's "rap/rock". It neat to watch the cycles and how things go and come. As a band we are all into many different things. I like Jason Mraz, Sister Hazel and The Goo Goo Dolls. Jason is into Kings X and Kris will forever be a Cheap Trick fan. We are all over the map.

RNW: What do you think sets you apart from other bands?

Josh: I think the fact that we are so "un-rock" really makes people interested in us. They will see us and say, "You're the band?" and then we hit the stage, rock it out and then after the show they're like "Man, you guys rock!" We're just normal guys out to have a good time.

RNW: What would be your dream tour, the band you would most like to go out on the road with?

Josh: Boy, that's a tough one. I would personally have to say Bon Jovi. They put on such a killer show and the place would be packed every night. Of course, no one would be paying attention to us, but hey that's all right.

RNW: What do you think is the biggest obstacle for new bands there days to making it in this crazy business?

Josh: Competition. Not just with other bands, but with the public. There are so many things for people to spend their free time and money on these days. Movies, cable TV, pro sports, live concerts etc. Recently, we performed a show at a local club. That same night within a 5 block radius there was a free concert at Vanderbilt University with SR-71 and Nappy Roots and down the street was a music festival featuring Patty Griffin and Los Lobos. How does an unknown band compete with that? Plus, at times there might be 20+ local, unsigned bands playing in one night in Nashville. It's tough, but you can't give up. 

RNW: What has been your proudest moment as a band so far?

Josh: Our proudest moment would definitely be when we were named BEST LOCAL BAND by The Nashville Scene. It is also very rewarding that we have recently been getting better gigs that actually pay a little money.
 
RNW: On the other side of the coin, what has been worst experience?

Josh: The lowest point would have to be when we were hired by an elementary school to play at their end of the year picnic. Along with our original material, we had to play the theme songs to Sesame Street and Scooby Doo and stuff like that. It was embarrassing...I don't even like to think about it. We only did it for the money, and now that I think about it I don't even remember if they came through with the cash.

RNW:  Has the Internet helped you reach new fans?  Do you think like some that the net will eventually open up the music business or will the major labels still dominate things?

Josh: The Internet has helped us greatly. We have been contacted by people in Russia, the UK, Netherlands and all over the US. In a grass roots campaign like our own, the Internet is invaluable, but I doubt it could ever take the place of the majors.

RNW: What’s next for you and the band?

Josh: We are going to continue to perform as many quality gigs as we can and hopefully get some new material started.

RNW: Where do you hope to be five years from now?

Josh: I am hoping that in five years from now that we could be making some income off of our music. Whether is consistently playing great paying gigs, or having our music on movie soundtracks or what. It doesn't really matter to me. 

RNW: Finally, what do you want people to take away from your music?

Josh: I would hope that people will see how much fun we are having and want to come along for the ride.
 


Ok now that you know a little about the Josh Jackson Band it is time to go to their website and learn more

Be sure to check out their page at MP3.com to hear some of the tunes!

Know of a great unsigned artist or band? Let us know. 

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