'..genuine ground breaking roots influenced music that cuts across borders'
Jeff Glorfeld - The Age EG August 2006 (Melbourne, Australia)
Bill Jackson plays solid Aussie roots-rock with a universal country flavour - the sort of country that might appeal to people who automatically say they hate country without ever truly listening to it. His bio contains an impressive list of dues paid, from Nashville to London and all stops in between, and we're just lucky he's come home to Melbourne to make this latest record. As you would expect of a songwriter working in the Australian music capital, he's put together an ace backing band, led by the magnificent Shannon Bourne on guitars (check out his recent solo debut Burn It Down) and Mr Everywhere Bruce Haymes on keyboards. Jackson has a lived-in, easy vocal style that sounds real nice on the slow stuff such as opener Lucy's Life and the big ballad Hobohemia but really gets to cranking on the blues-rock numbers such as slow-burner Hole in the Chicken Wire and the harder kickers Ghost in a Limousine and Lucky When I Left (with the outstanding country lyric "I got lucky when I found her, she got lucky when I left").
Keith Glass Review – Capital Country News (September 2006)
Back in Melbourne they are still making music mucho influenced by source material and mixing it up into 57 or so varieties (OK bad semi obscure pun.) The latest contender from the southern state is BILL JACKSON with ‘DIGGIN’ THE ROOTS’ (Sound Vault.) Now Bill has been around several blocks and traveled extensively in search of his mantra – Austin being a place he might have found it but he still calls Melbourne home. I keep saying there are great musicians down there and a fair few of them are right here on this disc. In fact guitarists Shannon Bourne and Marcel Yammouni (who also produces) pack such a punch in their playing that the artist would be in danger of being overshadowed were it not for the fact he writes very fine songs and sings them convincingly too. Still the sonic attack is placed mainly up front on the first few tracks and I’m not convinced a bit of judicious programming may have improved what is already a very good singer/songwriter album with balls. Guts too, I smile every time I listen to the biographical track Hole In The Chicken Wire and hear Andalusia rhymed with panacea. Take a chance and hear some genuine ground breaking roots influenced music that cuts across borders.
Billy Pinnell – JB HiFi MAG Sept 2006(Melbourne, Australia)
As the title of his debut album suggests, singer/songwriter Bill Jackson has exhumed the spirits of blues legends like John Lee Hooker, Blind Lemon Jefferson and Robert Johnson (all mentioned on various tracks) to inspire a bunch of original compositions that touch on relationships, pressures of life on the land and trying to make it in a rock band.
Jackson’s convincing vocals enhance the narrative material, he’s assertive on the rockers, subtle on slower ones, while an A-List band that includes guitarist Shannon Bourne, keyboard player Bruce Haymes and multi-instrumentalist / producer Marcel Yammouni provide outstanding support.
Dave Dawson (Beat Magazine - Melbourne, Australia)
I'm in the middle of Hobohemia waiting for a train/ my livelihood depends on crops, I'm counting on the rain/ my education don't mean nothing in these hard times/ I fill the boxes with fruit and I fill my head with rhymes." - Hobohemia - Bill Jackson.
Albury born, Sale reared singer-songwriter Bill Jackson had big advances on peers - he first visited Texas hot spot Austin before it was popular with faddists.
Jackson didn't have government grants or record company cash when he invaded the Lone Star State capital in the late seventies and eighties.
But he enjoyed post nuptials of Willie Nelson's redneck-hippie shotgun wedding that gave birth to a progressive Texas sound in Jan Reid's book The Improbable Rise Of Redneck Rock.
It's a sturdy sub genre that has outlived faux country fly by night vampires and refried rockers singing flat with grunge guitars.
So when Jackson sings about being in Austin "hanging out at the Armadillo, smoking joints and writing songs in perfect harmony," in the searing Hole In The Chicken Wire he hasn't pillaged it from a cyber chat room.
That memory is carved in Jackson's solo disc Diggin' The Roots (Soundvault) that he launches at East Brunswick Club Hotel on Wednesday October 11.
Tracey Miller, promoting her popular CD, also performs at Bill's lavish launch.
He name checks famed but long defunct Armadillo World HQ and aptly named Hole In The Wall that has spanned four decades.
Equally importantly the Melbourne University educated some time teacher enriches realism by daubing his timeless tableau with slices from his three siblings' lives and backing vocals by Olivia Nathan.
The hole in the chicken wire is not a hollow metaphor but entrée to a world that pre-dated his cassette recording debut with the Lamington Bros in 1981 on expatriate Australasian Barry Coburn's South Of The Border Records.
For trivia buffs expat Kiwi Peter Bain-Hogg - executive producer of SBS smash hit Rockwiz - sold Jackson's cassette from the boot of a Fiat 124 at Royal Melbourne Showgrounds during Shotgun Willie's debut Australasian tour.
Lamington Bros circa 1980 - Bill is far right
Sales stimulus for Jackson's tune was companion song - Dead Livers Nelson eulogy Love To Have A Joint With Willie that broke the commercial radio country boycott.
Jackson has a hot band - guitarist Shannon Bourne, bassists Marcel Yammouni and Damien Boyd, drummer Daniel Xuerub, organist Bruce Haymes who shares pianist duties with Marcel.
Mornington singer Anna Wright joins Jackson on Lucy's Life - a poignant vignette that sets the mood for the driving passion of Ghost In The Limousine.
Jackson sings of John Lee Hooker in the former and Robert Johnson in the latter - a dream sequence.
"We started out with good intentions but now we're nothing but rock stars."
He owes more to Tony Joe White than blues peers trapped in delta quicksand - "if this is the future, well, I don't like one bit/ it looks like peace, love and understanding took another hit."
Bill explores the flip side of love in Lucky When I Left and injects melodic Enigma with a poetic beauty - "just like Mona Lisa you always keep me guessing/ hanging in that beautiful space between leaving and a blessing."
Equally evocative Hobohemia - a beatific ballad with Mornington singer Anna Wright - and pathos primed biblical Gippsland sourced sibling Settlement Road.
Jackson finishes his eight-track disc with Peter Cole penned tune Who's The Dancer?
FOOTY AND CRICKET
Bill, like Shipwreck Coast peer Shane Howard, enjoyed sporting prowess - he played in the St Pat's College senior footy team and captained its cricket first eleven.
Howard had an illustrious footy career before enjoying national success with his sister Marcia in Goanna and longevity as a solo artist.
we're diggin this stuff here in the US
I first heard Bill Jackon's music on the Salty Dog podcast, and after listening to the interview, I decided to buy the CD and support this great singer/songwriter. Thanks Salty. There's great roots, alternative country and some smokin blues rock on this album. Really fine music here.
lucky when i left
i hade the pleasure to record my cd songs, while i was in melbourne, years ago, written by jimmy punturere, and guitar background from Bill jasckson a great artist i enjoy very much and hope to work with him soon...thanks mate hello from USA carlo martini
The real deal. Jackson interview at salty.com.au
INTERVIEW WITH JACKSON ON WWW.SALTY.COM.AU RELEASED 21 Feb 2007...
Bill Jackson is the genuine article. A roots singer songwriter from Australia who mixes up roots, rock and a taste of alt. country into a very fine brew. The interview covers his influences and experiences, Bills talks about the trials of songwriting and of course, his 'Diggin The Roots' CD is featured throughout. Great listening. Interview recorded in Melbourne, Australia on 16th December 2007