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CD REVIEW: Jackson County Line - Jackson County Line
By Jarrod Brogdon - 05/06/2008 - 09:49 AM EDT

Artist: Band: Jackson County Line
Album: Jackson County Line
Label: None
Genre: Americana, Folk, Acoustic
CD Review: Soulful – This debut CD plays out like Jackson County Line invented the word.  Each jazzy note is articulated with a warm Southern drawl.  

Jackson County Line is a 5-piece band, based in and around Atlanta, Georgia.

From the initial harmonica slurs that open the album on “Let me Ride”, JCL’s music invites you in and you’re willing to go wherever they take you.  With each drag of the bow across the cello strings, the sultry trumpet, a touch of mandolin and fiddle, the steady rhythm section in the driver’s seat and Kevin Jackson navigating through song, this is one journey you’ll be glad to go on.

 The songs of Jackson County Line are both lyrically and musically diverse, with topics covering life and death, love and loss, racism, and spirituality.

“Drown” is an up-tempo lament told through metaphor and poetic imagery.  Matt Phillips on mandolin duty and Tim Anderson on cello play off each other perfectly. The title track “Jackson County Line” serves as the centerpiece for the CD, and is a reminder that discrimination is still very much alive today.  It tells the story of a man arrested for nothing more than the color of his skin.  Phillips’ trumpet and Jackson’s voice transport you to a rural Southern America highway at the wrong time of night.  “All Alone” is an instrumental performed beautifully on classical guitar by Jackson.  Jackson solos with his acoustic guitar on “If You Leave”, a sad, sweet song begging “If you leave, I may never see you ever” through amazing harmonies. “Burden to Fly” is a vocally-charged, gospel-tinged track accompanied mostly by harmonica, acoustic guitar, and subtle percussion.  The track closes the CD…and at the end, you’ll be ready for another “Ride”.

Cade Lewis (Bass) and Steve Warner (Percussion) provide a focused rhythm section to serve these very delicate songs.

Verdict:  The Jackson County Line is one you’ll want to cross again and again.

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