An iconic artist desperately crying out for help. New rumors of imminent war and Lord knows how many bad news have been delivered to you this week – there’s definitely a need for some optimism and while some recur to drugs or isolation, there’s also a great way to lose all that stress. You might have guess it by now… no? Well, music, of course. And the next artist I got the chance to review, Jackson Howard, and its newest record can totally work as a great antidote for your despair.
Just For The Mystery kicks off with the title track, the song takes no time to lift your spirit with upbeat piano melodies and Howard vocals that matches so well with the rhythm. “A Place In This World” has a great 90s Alternative (Think Counting Crows), Country-ish vibe that dives into somewhat “existential” themes in a very brighter way that makes us both think and feel at home at the same time. “Run With Me” sort of follows the tone as the last track, it’s perhaps the closest to a darker sound you will find on this record. The acoustic guitar riffs blends perfectly with other instruments as the drums and effects. The vocals, though they don’t play too much of a big role, helps elevate the tune to higher grounds. Overall, the production work and influence by Billy Smiley, Ritchie Biggs and Billy Whittington can be felt throughout the whole record. You get this particular textures that are normally found in Christian Rock songs like MercyMe, Newsboys and Third Day. The album also has a je ne se quais that takes me back to the heydays of the late 90s and early 00s, though it never feels outdated.
There ain’t no negative things to report. Jackson Howard really knows how to dive into different realms of rock and pop music and because of it, you never get bored nor every song feels so repetitive. The St. Louis native vocals and guitar talents also shines on every song, sometimes you feel the singer is trying to go along with the song but he just knows how to connect with the music and it really does come effortlessly.
Criteria - 95%
Overall, this is definitely an artist and record to watch. If you are one of those losing faith in today's music, give this man a try and you might find some hope back.