Woodstock Sentinel-Review, Canada
By Bruce Urquhart
With a tour on the horizon and studio time already booked, Lynn Jackson wanted to – scratch that, needed to – record something.
Her plans to put together a “full band” album had been derailed when Jackson’s longtime bassist decided to leave the fold. But with the encouragement and help of two close friends, Jackson decided to do something a little different. During that time booked for her band album, she instead recorded what she describes as an “acoustic retrospective album.”
“I came up with the idea of going through my back catalogue and choosing certain songs and doing them in stripped- down acoustic versions,” said the Ingersoll-raised singer-songwriter. “It’s mainly a real rootsy sound.”
With a discography of six albums stretching back to 2004’s Night Songs, the prolific Jackson had a few to choose from when planning her soon-to-bereleased album. Working with talented Kitchener-based producer Chris Boyne and Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake, Jackson stayed true to her original notion, eschewing drums and electric guitars for pedal steel and standup bass.
“I wanted something new when I was out that way,” Jackson said about her planned summer tour to Western Canada.
In fact, much of Jackson’s spring, summer and fall is going to be spent on stage or on the road, starting with a couple of weekend shows in Kitchener and Waterloo. Later this month, she will take the stage at the famed Cameron House, performing a showcase as part of Toronto’s annual NXNE music festival.
“At NXNE, you’re playing before people who likely haven’t heard you before,” said Jackson, whose played the 10-day festival twice before. “I try to make (my set) a nice mix of back catalogue and a couple of new songs to keep it fresh for me as well.
“I like the idea that (NXNE) has such a wide variety of music. You’ve got a lot of different voices and a lot of different backgrounds.”
As f or her summer and fall tours, which include further Ontario dates and stops in Edmonton, Regina, Calgary, Nelson, Lethbridge and Vancouver, Jackson tries to tailor her set list to “the crowd and the venue.”
“For an indie musician, the touring is really an investment in getting yourself heard,” she said. “It’s a lot of work but there are always a handful of crowds that make it worth it. Last year, my entire tour (of Western Canada) was like that.”
Since her first cross-Canada trip in 2006, Jackson has won over more and more fans to her wistful rural ballads and punchier alt.country rockers. Blessed with one of those voices that can inspire shivers, Jackson is equally at ease with the introspective and the propulsive. She can hold an audience rapt with the poetry of her pensive Yellow Moon, with its haunting pedal steel, or get them dancing to the upbeat twang of Like Gypsies.
“It’s what I like about touring,” she said. “The onus is on you … to put on a performance and draw the crowd in.”
The touring is also a welcome change from the solitude of writing. As a songwriter, Jackson doesn’t “force” her creativity, preferring to write when inspiration hits rather than attempting some sort of schedule.
“It actually comes in fits and starts,” she explained. “I wait for the ideas to happen and then try to capture them before they disappear.”
Sometimes two or three months can pass without Jackson writing a note, but then the songs come, three or four or five at a time.
“It’s really late night when I do my writing while I’m unwinding from the day,” she said. “It’s the time of day that I set aside … and put myself in that space.”
The inspiration, she said, can come from anywhere.
“The ideas are from all over the place,” she said, “From something that happened during the day or a song I’ve heard.”
Jackson has already finished the bulk of the songs for her next “next” album – a full band release that she hopes to begin recording in the fall. Right now, her new bassist is working with the rest of her band to learn the songs from Jackson’s back catalogue, including 2012’s critically acclaimed Down in the Dust, as well as the new material.
Like all of her albums since her second, 2006’s Sweet Relief, both of her planned 2014 releases should again be on the Kitchenerbased Busted Flat record label. Owned and operated by Mark Logan, who also owns Kitchener’s Encore Records music store, Busted Flat has been described by Exclaim! magazine as being “one of the most respected roots music outlets in the country.” Jackson’s relationship with the label began when she dropped off her debut at the store.
“It took ( Logan) about six months to get through the pile and listen to my stuff,” Jackson said. “He sought me out and said he wanted to help me with my next release.”
I like the idea that (NXNE) has such a wide variety of music. You’ve got a lot of different voices and a lot of different backgrounds.” Lynn Jackson, singer-songwriter