Experimentation is the lifeblood of any artist, and when ideas suddenly coalesce into something that until that moment seemed beyond reach, it casts an entirely new light on their identity.
Over the course of her nearly 20-year recoding career, Lynn Jackson has always served the song, allowing each collection of sounds and moods evolve into each new album.
From folk to roots to indie-rock, 2022’s I Am Only the Moon sees the artist strip it all down to return to her acoustic beginnings.
On her 12th release, Jackson draws from the diverse talent in her native Kitchener-Waterloo, resulting in a dynamic collection of sounds and stories brought to life by the carefully chosen instrumentation and astute production.
“I always, almost without exception, write the lyrics first. Some are fiction when I’m in storytelling mode, or some are just reactions to what I’m experiencing at that moment. But I feel even if I’m telling a story from a character’s perspective or about a character, I think honesty is key to ultimately connecting with audiences. I write for myself, but I also write to connect, like the connections I’ve felt with a lot of my favourite artists from Tom Waits to Lucinda Williams to Cat Power and Leonard Cohen or to heavier, louder artists that I love.”
Having worked with Cowboy Junkies’ Michael Timmins in the producer’s chair for 2017’s Follow that Fire, Jackson took the reins on 2020’s critically acclaimed Lionheart and again on this new 14-song effort.
I Am Only the Moon is full of haunting banjo, soulful violin, spirited mandolin and potent guitar leads - the sparse arrangements allowing each player to step into the spotlight, as Jackson draws us into her stories. The evocative title track is a bewitching ballad and cautionary tale while I’m Awake is a light-hearted, lively travelling companion. Blues-soaked track The Wrench features gritty National Steel slide, while Day after Day sings along to poignant pedal steel swells and effervescent piano.
Lynn Jackson’s I Am Only the Moon is fierce and tender, searching and powerful, as she once again draws us into her world and characters with enduring narratives and strong melodies -- and a lot of heart.
Reviews in brief:
Tom Phillips (Calgary, AB Singer-Songwriter ) - June 2020
Great songs. Great band. Great vocals. The whole thing sounds great, so many different instrumental touches too.
The singing is so strong and I really love the sound of the acoustic guitar and where it is in the mix, while the arrangements are fantastic the rhythm guitar and vocals on these wonderful songs could stand alone anywhere!
Chris Connelly (Musician - Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Finitribe) - June 2020
It’s unusual for me as a person who writes songs to find really strong musical connections, connections that are more than the usual, lovely things that unite us as artists ( and I am eternally grateful for that) but, when someone’s song bypasses your ears and just passes gracefully into your soul and your history, then, it’s time to get excited and say THERE IS SOMEONE ELSE ON THIS ISLAND!!!
Oh yes, it’s happened for me with those amazing and incredibly renowned writers, that helped write the BOOK, that we grew up with, Leonard Cohen, Dylan, John Martyn, Nick drake, Lou Reed.Patti smith, Joni, (it’s a long list) But someone doing that now? Oh, they are out there, yes, of course they are, but it can be needle in a haystack stuff…..
Lynn Jackson is such an artist, and she has a new album out, “lionheart”, a beautiful journey, a gritty journey, her heart grips her voice with an iron hold, steers it to the places it has to go, and it steers it to the places it maybe doesn’t want to go, and it’s always, so, so heartbreakingly HUMAN. I have done this for forty fucking years, I KNOW when I hear a soul sing, and I know when I am being lied to as well.
I know I will always write, and knowing that there is a LYNN JACKSON out there makes me feel cosily self righteous and completely vindicated.
Tim Willcox, Kitchener, ON - June 20, 2020.
Really sat and listened to Lynn Jackson 's latest, "Lionheart". Great CD, liner notes, booklet and photos. From the folkie songbird that does Cramps, Ol' Dirty Bastard and Grunge covers, Lynn channels Kurt Cobain on tracks 4 & 6, and Lou Reed on track 11, Cobwebs. Well played folkie guitar lady....well played.
Fervor Coulee - 2017
Damn, she’s good. Great songs, great voice, inspired production: get this one. Fingers crossed: this is Lynn Jackson’s Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.
Americana UK - 2017
If you like your Americana gothic and compelling this will reward your investment many times over. 8/10
All Music.com - May 2013 - Thom Jurek
Canadian singer/songwriter Lynn Jackson’s catalog has deep Americana roots, in the very best way that tag implies. . . Jackson is an excellent narrative songwriter; she tells stories that the listener can climb inside and inhabit for as long as she wishes, and is haunted by them long after the recording ends. Down in the Dust is full of such moments.
PENGUIN EGGS - DECEMBER 2012
There is something hauntingly familiar about Lynn Jackson’s Down in the Dust. Whether it’s the inspired first cut Paper Airplanes, where Jackson delivers a stellar performance, or the terrific cover of Lawrence KS (Josh Ritter), sliding this CD into the tray feels very comfortable. . . . . it is a well put together package by a talented artist and team.
CBC - NOVEMBER 2012 - BOB MERSEREAU
Jackson’s a strong roots songwriter with five previous albums to her credit, and a growing body of high-quality, emotional and open tunes. . . .it's all connected by fine writing, some soul-deep stuff.
THE WATERLOO REGION RECORD - OCTOBER 2012 - ROBERT REID
With the release of Down in the Dust, her sixth album since 2004, Lynn Jackson has quietly but insistently become one of the most prolific roots artists in this area. . . finely crafted original compositions. The closing, title track sends pricklies up the back of your neck.
NIGHTLIFE - SEPTEMBER 2012
Lynn Jackson, Busted Flat Record’s premier songbird, has had an impressive musical career. Now eight years and six records in, Jackson has developed into a sophisticated songwriter . . . ..She’s no one-trick pony. . ..It’s easy to believe that she’s capable of conquering any adventure she embarks upon.’
Exclaim! Magazine, 2010
On her fifth studio CD, Coming Down (2010), Jackson stretches creatively out of her patented blend of folk-roots into “into more pop-informed territory. . . . potentially reaching a wider audience. Jackson has made a creative breakthough.”
The Waterloo Region Record, 2010
“Coming Down (2010) ventures more deeply into pop – with forays into reggae, funk, blues, Klezmer and jazz – than previous releases. Enjoy the ride and stay tuned.”
Vue Magazine, Edmonton, AB
Soft Stars (2008) is “sweetly urgent honky-tonk infused with lush and unexpected orchestral touches . . . boosted by Jackson’s pliant whiskey ‘n’ honey voice. A deft innovator, Jackson dangles her rootsy tunes into other genres.”
On Restless Days (2007) Jackson offers up “spare poetic mood-songs and a wistful whispery voice that conveys a palette of emotion from longing and regret to freedom and nostalgia.” But it is often her song-writing itself that is the focus of reviews and acclaim.
The Victoria Times Colonist
Restless Days (2007) “Even the arrangements put an emphasis on her words. The rootsy instrumentals are stripped-down and full of delicate acoustic plucking. It allows her high,
fragile voice to take the fore.”
Restless Days (2007) “Lynn Jackson is carrying on a glorious tradition. Like Cash, Dylan,
Cohen, and so many other songwriting pillars before her, Jackson is writing for the people."
Media: Mark Logan, Busted Flat Records