Scott Jackson

Independent release, 2005


REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg



This was my reaction after replacing my umpteenth listen to Pink Floyd (we've got a retrospective to finish, y'know) with Distractions, a decidedly more upbeat release from one of the most talented independent artists I've come across in the past year, singer-songwriter Scott Jackson. Building on last year's strong EP My World , this full-length disc moves Jackson's music forward in fine style.

Jackson builds his material from an acoustic, rather Jackson Browne-ish base of supple melodies, delicate vocals and introspective lyrics. But here, as on my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 My World, he pushes it to the next level with the assistance of collaborator/producer/guitarist Jerry Wong, whose jangly electric leads bring these songs firmly into the roots-rock realm occupied by the likes of Tom Petty, John Hiatt and BoDeans.

What you end up with, then, is thinking-man's folk-rock. "C'mon C'mon" kicks things off with a roar, a rollicking number about being true to yourself and listening to your muse when "you wanna say all those things no one's ever said before." Later on, "In The Morning" takes a bluesier, more contemplative approach to one of Hiatt's favorite themes -- redemption.

The music throughout is solid and well-played, but the memorable lines Jackson comes up with to punctuate these songs are what consistently makes them come to life for me. The line "These secrets are sounding like thunder / Deep in my mind" is the crux of the steady-rocking "When You Gonna Come Down"; so it is also with "Precious Things" and "I live fast, learn slow / These are the things I have come to know."

This disc, Jackson's first full-length, wisely includes remastered versions of two of the best numbers from My World, "Empty Cup" and "What Are We Waiting For." Both fit in perfectly with this set's undercurrents of introspection and spirituality (the latter being most prominent on cuts like "She Cries" and "Mercy"). "Tears Of Bourbon" makes for a fitting closer, a bit of a barroom weeper -- as the title clearly implies -- but arranged as a gentle gospel blues that renders Jackson's sometimes-fragile vocals positively luminous.

As Distractions go, this disc is one I'd gladly ask to color my day again. These eleven songs are full of genuine soul, and immaculately arranged, played and produced. Do yourself a favor and lend Scott Jackson your ear.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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