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 months 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
MP3s I knew they were on to something and it isnt southern rock!
So take a few minutes and get to know the
band through this interview with the groups 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: Lets 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 havent 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
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
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
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 CDs. First, is there
a big difference between the two CDs? 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
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: Whats the collective goal for
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
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: Whats 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
RNW: Where do you hope to be five years
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.
now that you know a little about the Josh Jackson Band it is time to go
to their website and learn more
sure to check out their page at MP3.com to hear some of the tunes!
of a great unsigned artist or band? Let us know.
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