Last week, Indianapolis native and new Nashville resident Peter Terry released his debut full-length album I AM JACKSON. The album is more radio-friendly than many of the artists we feature on Thought on Tracks. However, its accessibility has nothing to do with an overproduced sound or stale, flavorless songwriting. Quite the opposite, this album gains its mass appeal by addressing those universal emotions and experiences that appear in almost every walk of life: the regrets of a drunken night out with the boys, the first breaths of a new relationship, boyhood crushes and a dance with the devil.
The other element driving the band’s pop appeal is Terry’s singing. These are not the smoke-worn crackles of a road weary blues man, nor are they the off-pitch screams that currently dominate certain segments of the indie scene. Terry’s voice is trained, soaring to heights only reached after years spent honing an incredible natural ability. If this is a crime, it is certainly a crime worth committing.
I AM JACKSON. begins with the steady thump of the bass drum and a filthy, foreboding riff on the double bass. Clashing stabs on the acoustic cut through the bass line as “Stripper Song” builds into the chorus. As the song’s title suggests, the lyrics meditate on the beauty of a talented dancer observed through drunken eyes. The song closes in a whirlwind, with the cello and bass trading textures as effectively as harmonies. Listen:
For me, the album hits its stride on “Piece of Art.” The song starts with a bouncy, walking bass line and simple snare pattern. Terry’s vocals float above the rhythm, lamenting on the frustrations of long distance love. A descending piano line signals the bridge as a raucous horn section fills out the remainder of the song. Female background vocalists serve as the icing on this auditory cake, adding a call and response that combines to create one helluva guilty pleasure.
“Godmother” is another track that has the potential to dominate the playlist of every college co-ed within earshot. The song features some of Stephen Juergensen’s best riffs on cello. Terry’s chorus is one that engrains itself in the listener’s mind, resurfacing in subconscious mutterings throughout the day. He shouts proudly, “My baby don’t take shit from no man / And if you trust it gives you the back hand / Said my baby don’t take shit from no man / If trouble comes, she keep left, she keep heart, she keep it on movin’”
With each successive spin of I AM JACKSON., the more convinced I become that Nashville is the perfect stage for Terry & The Profits to call home. Though country would hardly be described as a major influence, the prevalence of strings make the album immediately relatable to that audience. With country fans accounting for an increasingly larger portion of CD sales, Nashville maintains deep ties with the radio industry. And this album deserves radio play.
Pick up a copy of I Am Jackson. on iTunes or stream it via Spotify. Buy it for your girlfriend and watch her heart melt. Buy it for your mother and wait for her to inevitably say, “I didn’t realize they still made albums like this.” Buy it for yourself and discover what five talented musicians and an astounding voice sound like when they’re making the music that they love.
Written by Rob Peoni
Last month we featured the first two videos from Nashville’s Live and Reel video series. The series is a monthly feature from Reel Recording. As I said then, I’m looking forward to see the consistently great material that surfaces out of this upstart. With Indiana-native Mark Galup at the helm, we can expect consistent, solid songwriters like The Little Bear to appear here.
This quartet, led by blonde siren Claire Guerreso, harkens back to the simple songwriting of their Nashville roots. Signed to Plastic 350 Records, the band recently released their debut EP Bridges. The two songs featured on their Live & Reel Session are “Sweet as Honey” and “Hello.” Stream the videos below, then go pick up Bridges for $5, HERE.
Written by Rob Peoni
Check out last month’s Live & Reel session featuring Natalie Prass & Evan P. Donohue
Those that know me well and have any grasp of my musical tastes should understand that there exist several sure-fire paths to my heart. Horn sections – love them. Soulful songwriting: I need an emotional investment from the artist. Strong vocals, not a must, but I tend to gravitate toward great singing. I am a bonafide sucker for bands fronted by a chicks, New Orleans piano players, anything from the Motown label, and slide-blues guitar.
The debut, self-titled release from Nashville’s Jessica Breanne & The Electric Hearts has many of the ingredients from the aforementioned list – in spades. The album showcases Breanne’s strengths as a songwriter, touching on a variety of genres without ever feeling lost or falling flat. Her vocals remind me of a cheerier Alison Mosshart or an edgier Susan Tedeschi.
The Electric Hearts provide an accessible, classic soul foundation for Breanne to build from. Their guitar play has enough of an edge to keep things interesting, at times mimicking Dan Auerbach to a dangerous degree. But I can’t say I’m mad about it. This album is guaranteed to liven up one of your parents’ lame dinner parties without inviting any dirty looks from an older guest list.
The album is solid top to bottom. Don’t miss the cover of Bon Iver’s “Flume.” The band pulls it off without abandoning the soulful simplicity that drives the rest of the disc. Stream the entire album below and pick it up for $10 via bandcamp.
Written by Rob Peoni