Will Jackson grew up in South Carolina but, after playing over a thousand shows in Nashville, fell in love with the Americana sound the city is becoming a beacon of. His full length release Songs From the Briarpatch bridges his genre inspiration and his hometown.
The record has the ability to swing between joy, melancholy, and thoughtfulness. Opening with a grand sense of travelling excitement, Jackson makes clear on “Looks Like Today” that this is an Americana album with the flavours of the South. An upbeat guitar solo and trills of organ flare give the song a bouncy touch. The happiness continues into the love song “Good Enough”: “I don’t care what the people say / I don’t care what we do today / when I got you bringing out the better side of me,” Jackson proclaims.
Diversity of tone helps the record to feel like a journey in and of itself. Though there is joy, there is also sadness and heartbreak on “Drinking My Way Home”, which uses drinking as a filter for pain in the longstanding tradition of so much American music. “Walking on Fire” slows the record down with a song about being in a dark place. “I don’t see colours like I used to,” the song opens. Memory and the passing of time remains a steady theme throughout Songs from the Briarpatch.
Though there are ups and downs on the record, the thoughtfulness in songwriting gives structure and a sense of craftsmanship. “Catch the Wind” shines in the light of “Walking on Fire”. “Catch the Wind” is a song of advice for those facing hardship. “Polaroid Parade” solidifies the idea of memory as fallible with a timeless swell of strings. When “Caroline Calls” arrives to finish the album, it is with a returned sense of optimism. Home is personified and reflected upon, and everything feels like a possibility.