Introducing Jackson Dean, this is what he had to say.
We’re lucky here at Countrytown to be invited to artist showcases with emerging country artists – but we are often unsure what to do with the opportunities we receive. At an artist showcase, media and other industry officials learn about the artist usually through a Q&A or a brief interview and then hear a song or two performed live or recorded.
We’re going to try and recreate that experience as best we can for you today with fast rising country singer-songwriter, Jackson Dean.
Dean left his hometown of Odenton, Maryland at age 18 to begin songwriting, which led to collaborations with Casey Beathard and Luke Dick at Little Louder Music. He signed to Big Machine Records in 2021 and released his self-titled EP featuring his debut single Wings. His second single Don’t Come Lookin’ from his debut album Greenbroke followed the following year, becoming a top 10 single on American country radio with over 17 million Spotify streams thanks to it being featured on the TV series, Yellowstone.
Known for his old school, gritty style of country music, the daring and carefree singer-songwriter has joined bills with the likes of Toby Keith, Miranda Lambert, Brantley Gilbert, Kane Brown, Brooks & Dunn, Jake Owen, and Brothers Osborne.
Introducing Jackson Dean, this is what he had to say.
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“It was a lot of weight off my shoulders and consciousness. It was a long time holding those songs back from the world, so, yeah, it felt pretty damn awesome [to release the album] to tell you the truth. I'm not singing songs about trucks, daisy dukes and what not, it’s a different thing, this is matters of the heart and consciousness.”
“Music was always around my family. My dad was old country, and also blues and funk. My brothers were metal ska, and everything in between. My sister was top 40. Mama was Bruce Springsteen. So, it was just really big [mix] of stuff. There was a bar in the town my parents grew up in, which is about five miles as the crow flies, and they had blues jams in there all the time. We would go, so I got to see that. I remember my parents telling me, even when you're a wee babe, you can carry a tune. I guess it was just in me from the beginning.”
“A lot of memories, a lot of things I've seen with my eyeballs that I won't forget. I look at the headliners and how they work the crowd. One thing just happened a couple months ago, we were out with Brooks and Dunn and Ronnie was doing Neon Moon. He held this note for, I shit you not, probably three minutes straight. One single note, and he had the crowd pick it up and he would take a breath and then he would start again. It was just like one of the coolest things I've ever seen. But stuff like that… little tricks.”
“Some years after I started playing regionally back home and so on. I'd just picked up a booking agent and then I got a publishing deal – and Luke and I write for the same publishing [company], so there's a 10-man roster at Little Louder Music right on Music Row in Nashville. It took a minute for us to get together. I was flying back and forth and coming down and writing two days a week, but once we got hooked up [things changed]. The first song we wrote was the single Don't Come Lookin’. He's a big blonde dude; I'm a big blonde dude. He likes rock and roll; I like rock and roll. So, it seemed to fit together pretty well. The man was a college philosophy professor in New York City, so he's incredibly intelligent and loves simplistic beauty like I do. Luke's a hell of an individual.”
“I was hammered when that happened. We were actually shooting all the content for the record in Santa Fe, New Mexico and the TV didn't work in this little hotel. So, we put it up on the computer. We were coming in off, like, a 16-hour day of shooting. It's like, where's the Jack Daniels, let’s sit and watch this thing. It was awesome to have a piece of your work go into something that like, I mean, it's Kevin Costner... he stood there while one of my songs was playing. It's pretty mind blowing. I'm very grateful that it happened. People still come up to me and they're like, ‘We found you on Yellowstone and we just drove all this way to see you. It was beautiful.”
“It’s been pretty awesome to see that American radio has just accepted the shit out of this song and they love it. I've not had one visit where it's gone bad. It's been pretty surreal to just be like, ‘Oh my god, y'all are digging this in… it's in top 10’, it's like, ‘holy shit!’
“I can't wait to get to where I can sit across from you and play for you, because it's a different thing in the flesh. [I want to get there] as soon as I possibly can. My brothers and my father have been, but I've not. I want to so bad. I know y'all love your tunes down there and I want to come make musical fusion for you.”
“I do have a new favourite these days. There's a song that's not out but will be here, I hope, at the beginning of summer. It's called Aphrodite, and it's about drowning. There’s this 10 second scene of this guy getting pulled down to his death by some goddess in the water and it's just a jam. It keeps you moving, and it is borderline disco, like country in rock disco. It's downright sexy. I like that dark stuff.”
“That was one of the first guitars I paid for myself – I bought that when I was 15 – and I haven't played that one at a show in probably two years. That one doesn’t come on the road with me. It went everywhere for a couple of years that I went – I strapped to the back of four-wheeler and go – it played a lot of shows with me. That guitar was like almost white when I bought it and I took sandpaper to it about two times maybe, took a rag and stained it real light, and it came out that colour. And then I started burning into it with a soldering iron.”
“It's kind of all built on a handshake. I'm not one of the artists, like here, ‘you should sing this song, like you didn't write it, but you're gonna sing it.’ I was like, ‘No, that's not how this is gonna work.’ Like, I want to go and write this stuff. I'd written three records of the material by myself before I got the deal, you know, and that got me that far, you know? But they're not trying to change me, and I won't let them. I'm going to do what I want to do, and what I want to do is succeed. There's been a couple opportunities come up and like, ‘yeah no. I'm not gonna do that.’ But it’s not too hard, I'm just gonna keep my nose on the grindstone and keep looking forward.”
Keep up to date with Jackson Dean on his Facebook page here.