Oklahoma country band Jackson Tillman released their new album Vagabond in February 2017. Through touring, the band is slowly building their fanbase, as well as interest in the album. Lead vocalist Jeremy Studdard has a smooth voice and effortlessly moves through songs displaying a full range of emotion. Nick Tate, lead guitarist, expertly manages beautiful guitar solos, while Shawn Gomez, on guitar and vocal harmony, compliments the music and adds texture to the band’s sound. Brothers Jamie and Bryan Chandler handle the bass and drums and maintain a strong command of the rhythm.
The first track “Not Good Enough” is a fantastic start to the album. Anyone who has every had their heart broken will feel the gut wrenching pain wrapped up in the song. From start to finish “Not Good Enough” touches an emotional nerve, perfectly revealing the pain and vulnerability of heart break. This is a track that could easily be a top ten country hit, if not a number one hit. Country music doesn’t get any better than “Not Good Enough”, that is until you hear the remaining songs on Vagabond.
“Heaven and Earth” is a more up-tempo song about love and reveals the band’s more fun and upbeat side. The title track “Vagabond” follows, and is an amazing song which showcases the songwriting mastery of Jackson Tillman. The track, which is about a man searching for success as a musician, conveys the determination and struggle faced by not only musicians, but regular people living their ordinary lives and striving for better. The song will get stuck in your head, it’s beautiful, haunting and sure to be a fan favorite.
The song “Crickets and Frogs” is a sweet love song any girl from rural America will absolutely love. “Here I Am” captures the honest emotions brought on by regret. Unlike many songs from the male perspective that focus on revenge, this song feels more real through exploring the variety of complex emotions involved in a breakup. Another song that could easily make its way to the radio is “You Can’t Say”. This is one of those tracks you will find yourself singing along to, the beat gets in your head, as well as the catchy chorus and the melody.
“On My Mind” is a wonderful, upbeat song about missing that special someone. The following song “She Plays Me Like a Slow Song” shows Studdard’s broader vocal range with moments where he uses a higher pitch then flows back into his smooth delivery. “Good Beer’s Better” is a fun, upbeat, traditional style country song. This track, along with “On My Mind” and “She Plays Me Like a Love Song” would be great tunes to get people on their feet and on the dance floor.
The album wraps up with “Back Road Girl” and “Remedy”. “Back Road Girl” is a ballad about young love full of rich textures and vocal harmonies. “Remedy” is reminiscent of the old outlaw country, with deep strong beats and gritty guitars.
Jackson Tillman is definitely a band to watch. Everyone involved in the group is extremely talented musicians and songwriters. Vagabond is a brilliant album that you can listen to from beginning to end and enjoy every song. With its high production quality and outstanding music, it is not only a good effort from an unsigned band, it’s a remarkable album that can compete with the work of top Nashville musicians and producers. The stand out songs on this album are numerous but the most outstanding tracks include “Not Good Enough”, “Vagabond”, “You Can’t Say” and “She Plays Me Like a Slow Song”. Any of these tracks could prove to be a chart topping, breakout hit for Jackson Tillman. Get your copy of Vagabond and keep up with the band on social media for a chance to catch their live show.
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