CD Review: Craig Jackson — Damn The Roses

CraigJacksonDamnBig  Craig Jackson

Damn
The Roses

Green Records

By Scott Roberts

Proverbially speaking, a book
cannot be judged by its cover. The same cannot be said as often or as
confidently about judging a CD by its cover. If you see a guy with a tight
t-shirt and a cowboy hat on a cover, or four guys with perfectly coiffed hair
wearing black leather, you can pretty much guess what the music on the inside
is going to sound like. If, however, you were to deduce that Craig Jackson’s
latest CD, Damn The Roses, would have
the laid-back acoustic, hippie vibe of The Grateful Dead’s American Beauty based on the fact that the CD’s cover is nearly an
exact replica of that album, you’d be “dead” wrong (and possibly “grateful”
too, depending on how you feel about those ancient rockers) to find that
instead the music within is a melodically-rich, smoothly produced group of
songs reminiscent of a country-tinged Jackson Browne or perhaps a slightly cheerier Freedy Johnston.

“Keep it simple/Simple is good,” Jackson
sings on the elegantly catchy “Simple,” and it seems to be the
singer/songwriter’s modus operandi throughout the entire CD’s 10 songs. Every
cut showcases Jackson’s smooth and tuneful voice along with capable, if not
always inspired, instrumental support from the assembled group of Tennessee
studio musicians, most notably pedal steel player Adam Ollendorf, who adds just
the right amount of eeriness to the mournful “Every Time You Leave.”  And harmony singer Megan Whalen’s voice
blends beautifully with Jackson’s
on most of the songs on the country-rocker’s fifth studio outing, especially on
the standout track “The Crying Game” where she gets to sing some lead vocals as
well. 

Damn The Roses is a
well-produced, nicely written and performed group of songs, but with a few
rough edges and an occasional production enhancement from this century, the
Nashville-based Craig Jackson could easily become a national force and create
an Americana
classic.         

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