Memphis Jewell was produced by the legendary Jim Gaines who recommended Jackie Johnson as a solo artist based on the many times he had worked with her as a background singer. Her passionate and soulful vocal style has caused artists from all over the world to travel to Memphis to have her sing on their albums. These include the Staples Singers, Lenny Kravitz, Barara Carr, Shirley Brown and Huey Lewis. She has opened for Bonnie Raitt ta the Montreaux Jazz Festival, performed at the Royal Albert Hall with Belinda Carlisle, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, performed with Aaron Neville at the House of Blues toured overseas and in the US with major artists including Rufus and Carla Thomas and this year with Huey Lewis and the News. The songs range from Motown with great takes on Smokey Robinson's Tears of a Clown and Gladys Knight's It Should Have Been Me to contemporary R & B of Do Ya and Rain to the Meters-Little Feat inspired Brightside to the stone-cold soul ballads Still In Love (duet with Johnny Rawls) and Wash Your Hands. NOthing Lasts Forever is jazzy-funky tune and the album ends with the powerful Gospel song Keep The Faith. The musicians are Johnny Rawls' studio band, the Rays, including their horn players with the addition of Johnny McGhee (LA Motown, LTD) and Lance Keltner (Rod Stewart Band) on guitar. This is a brilliant solo album by an artist who will be heard from.
"In many ways, Memphis Jewel is a tribute to Johnson's hometown, and the influence that the city had on crafting what we know as the R&B sound. Johnson's voice is in rare form. Johnson covers a lot of ground on Memphis Jewel, a CD that showcases the genre bending and universal nature of her city's music. Jackie Johnson provides her listeners with the seasoned result of years of woodshedding and touring, a true jewel of a record. Recommended."
Soul Tracks- August 2011
"When Amy Winehouse died recently, the news sparked renewed interest in her breakthrough album "Back to Black." While it is unfortunate that we lost such an amazing voice, the truth is that there are other soul singers out there that deserve as much, if not more, attention. Jackie Johnson is one of those singers who falls under the "real deal" category. On her latest release, "Memphis Jewel," Johnson proves why her voice is in such demand, delivering songs such as Nothing Lasts Forever, DoYa and Will You Be Mine with a silky-smooth and self-assured voice that harks back to singers such as Anita Baker and Roberta Flack. R&B singers don't get much more real than this."
Charleston Post and Courier- August 2011
"Soul music, which had been languishing for awhile, is undergoing revival and rennovation, not the least because a lot of white musicians have been rediscovering that distinctive dimension of emotion and inflection. Now Jackie Johnson takes us back to the best of Memphis/Motown era with a set of tracks that could very easily have been on hit anthologies in days of old. Especially when the band kicks into the intro of Nothing Lasts Forever, I get a chill up my spine, recalling the old sounds of Gladys Knight, Booker T., Smokey Robinson and myriad others of the craft. From beginning to end, Memphis Jewel is a weekend feast of times gone by, sidling in to remind all that some things are meant to not be forgotten."
FAME- July 2011
"There's a bit of resurgence in classic soul these days, what with the likes of Joss Stone and the late Amy Winehouse and Adele getting lots of airplay. Classic soul, the real stuff, is best delivered by a voice that's been around the block a time or two. Sure, young and callow performers can deliver a fine approximation. But to really send a tingle down one's spine, a singer's got to have lived through the joy and pain. Produced by Jim Gaines, Memphis Jewel shimmers like neon on rain-slicked streets. There's a nice studio sheen but the instrumentation is thoroughly organic, with lots of scratchy rhythm guitar, burbling keys and bold, brassy horns. Front and center, though, is Johnson's rich and powerful voice. Counting herself, there are sixteen musicians involved in the project, yet while the sound is full it's never cluttered. Craft and care are evident throughout. Johnson isn't posturing or posing or acting her way through these songs--she's simply telling the truth, in a most marvelous musical manner. Memphis Jewel is indeed a jewel of a recording. Recommended!"
Blinded By Sound- August 2011
"For me, Memphis Jewel was an extraordinary introduction to a great artist. Memphis Jewel should continue to rocket Jackie Johnson into the mainstream with the great vocalists out there today as she certainly deserves to be recognized for the exceptional talent that she is. For the shear depth of quality, production and music on Memphis Jewel, I give it my highest rating of 5 stars."
Underground Blues- July 2011
"Produced by the legendary Jim Gaines, Memphis Jewel is an impressive debut release for Jackie Johnson, loaded with great songs and performances. She promises to be a major player in the Soul Music revival."
Blues Bytes/Bluenight.com- August 2011
"Jackie Johnson won me over in about 30 seconds into the first cut, with her somber, rich voice intoning the simple phrase "I saw my love..." It's a monement of luminous beauty, eerily calm yet achingly brittle. On Memphis Jewel Johnson sings 11 well-chosen songs which underscore her credentials as an r&b classicist. This is the sort of material one could hear on the radio in the '60s and the pre-disco '70s when "soul" signified something more than a meaningless marketing slogan. Johnson has the perfect producer in Jim Gaines, who recorded this album with r&b session veterans in Texas and Memphis. Memphis Jewel will be, I'm sure, adorning any number of lists highlighting the finest r&b recordings of 2011."
Rambles.net- August 2011