The Jackstones are back!!!l
In what is by far one of the most ambitious and accessible country albums that critics have heard in years, The Jackstones’ Love Badly is taking the independent music world by storm right now and bolstering the California crew to fantastic new heights that longtime fans knew they were always capable of reaching. It’s awfully hard to make a record that critic and audiences both appreciate, and even harder when that record is a “crossover” piece, which have traditionally had a hard time finding a home or a core audience to cater to. That said, The Jackstones make it look all too easy in Love Badly, and with all of the new changes that have been coming to country music lately (likely in preparation of the change of guard that is inevitably coming towards the end of this decade), it couldn’t have arrived at a more significant time.
Love Badly, in a lot of ways, embodies the revolution happening right now in country music both inside and outside Nashville. The younger bands like The Jackstones aren’t content to make the same records that their forerunners did, using the same subjective formulas and relying on patronizing themes to sell records to a loyal, but incredibly limited, clientele. They believe that this music is so much more important and relatable than that, and moreover, that “country” music made in America should reflect what the country really sounds like, as opposed to some interpretation based on a false (and antiquated) narrative. The Jackstones have the image and the musical chops to sell the new brand that country is building, and after listening to this record, I’m convinced that they’re ready to take the reins and lead us all into the future.
“Ball of Thread,” one of my favorite moments from the album, is an old school roots rock ballad that shimmers like colored glass catching the sun just right, and its freeform arrangement is much more experimental and rollicking than what country fans have come to consider the norm. It’s an excellent demonstration of how The Jackstones combine influences that span the entirety of the American songbook and condense them into a straight forward sound that is a lot more fun and free spirited than anything on Top 40 radio right now. Their efforts are inspirational, especially if you’ve been feeling like there isn’t much left to be excited about in American music lately. If you want my advice, don’t let the FM dial get you down – Love Badly is cheaper than antidepressants and will actually leave you a little stronger as opposed to numb. How often do we lean on music when things get tough in our lives or we don’t know what to do or where to go next? When you think about how powerful this medium of art is it’s kind of scary, but it’s also a little humbling. In this sense, The Jackstones aren’t just making really good music right now; they’re doing their part to make a sad world just a little bit happier.
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