Credit: Richard Lee Jackson
L-R: Richard Lee Jackson, Jonathan Jackson, Daniel Sweatt
Nashville Star Jonathan Jackson And ENATION Unite The Nation
One of the highlights of my work is being given the opportunity to interview multi-talented individuals who arise from ‘soulful’ ground -- blessed people whose humble natures and morality stand equal to their gifts. Jonathan Jackson is one of those unique individuals and artists.
Not one of Jonathan’s five Emmys for his role as Lucky Spencer in General Hospital seems to have dented his gracious character in the least. Nor has his current super stardom as Avery Barkley in the prime time drama Nashville rearranged his priorities any, especially when it comes to his family or his religion, Orthodox Christianity. His integrity is' absolute' as is his appreciation to all those who helped him along the way, including in his vocal career, which continues to expand and well...shift...through his upcoming tour and newest album, Blame-Shifter.
To put it mildly, Jonathan Jackson’s version of “Unchained Melody” - recorded live at The Grand Ole Opry - will entrance you and the rest of the album will keep you. He and his band, ENATION, seem to have found a very comfortable, evocative, and fun sound in which to offer up to their growing audience and I, daresay, I’ve also become a fan. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make their kick-off show at Mohegan Sun on May 15th, however, given you have the opportunity to do so, I’d suggest you go...just as I’d suggest you read Jonathan Jackson’s interview below. Neither will disappoint -- similar to how this gentleman has lived his entire life, I believe.
What is your band’s mantra?
Love is an action
What should audiences expect to get from your new album Blame-Shifter? And why the title?
We set out to make an all rock album -- something that captured “raw honesty” at its finest. However, being part of Nashville for the last few years, we ended up integrating a rootsy feel to the album as well. Ultimately, it is a combination of both.
The name Blame-Shifter plays off of the rock-n-roll element of liberation. Not only do we encompass the element of “humility” in the title but also of ‘freeing oneself from blame’ as well as the act of blaming others.
The song “Unchained Melody” obviously speaks to you. What did it say to compel you to choose to sing it and put it on the album?
My dad was a huge country-gospel fan. In fact, the first song I ever performed was of this genre and I dedicated it to him. ‘Unchained Melody’ naturally evolved from there -- just as naturally as its dedication to my wife -- “love” being the correlation between both scenarios.
What is your favorite song on the album?
“Blame-Shifter” - lyrically. “Ascending” is really organic to what we do -- another favorite.
You have had enormous success in your life, personally and professionally. What’s your secret recipe?
I don’t know if there truly is a secret to success. My parents built into me a strong work ethic. As I began my career on General Hospital at an early age, I also benefited from the soundness of numerous mentors, such as Anthony Geary who emphasized the importance of “humility” in one’s life and work. I feel blessed.
What is one thing you can’t seem to perfect?
Myself. That seems to be the most difficult.
Are you an actor who sings or a singer who acts?
I’m neither. I’m just ME (as my young daughter would say). Lucky for me, my music and acting are closely joined today so I needn’t choose.
What is the most important piece of advice you’ve given to your kids?
The overriding theme I stress with my kids is “who you are is much more important than if you are liked.”
What is one piece of advice you live or work by?
William Hurt said it best, “Always carry a secret with you.” And I do.
What is something you have not tried yet, professionally, that is in your plans to do?
I’d like to direct a feature. Musically, produce someone else’s music.
Share a social cause or cause-based organization close to your heart.
The Not for Sale campaign, which combats human trafficking, is a primary cause I support as is the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), which helps people who have been displaced.
When “all” is said and done, how do you want to be remembered?
By my wife, kids, close friends and those whose lives I touch daily, I’d like to be remembered with a lot of love...knowing that they were my world.
“More concerned with who he is than whether or not he is liked”...Is there any wonder why Jonathan Jackson has been bestowed so many gifts, including the adoration of many?
What is expected of him - in both his life and work - Jonathan continues to prove he will fulfill and do so "passionately, subserviently, and graciously." It’s no different with his latest album, Blame-Shifter. Take a moment to listen to “Unchained Melody” here if you haven't already done so on our home page. It speaks for itself and what it’s saying should move you to want to hear more...in my humble opinion.
Jonathan Jackson + Enation Tour Dates (More Dates TBA):
May 15 - Uncasville, CT @ Wolf Den At Mohegan Sun
May 19 - Indianapolis, IN @ The HI-FI
May 20 - Columbus, OH @ A and R Music Bar
May 21 - Pittsburgh, PA @ The Club at Stage AE
June 4 - Kansas City, MO @ Knuckleheads Saloon
June 10 - Huntsville, AL @ Furniture Factory Bar & Grill
June 11 – Memphis, TN @ Minglewood Hall
June 17 – Atlanta, GA @ Vinyl
June 18 - Charlotte, NC @ Neighborhood Theatre
June 22 – Dewey Beach, DE @ Rusty Rudder
June 23 – Philadelphia, PA @ World Café Live
June 25 Hampton, VA @ Hampton Block Party
Many thanks to Jonathan Jackson and Julie Lichtenstein at 37-Media for making this interview possible