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Will Jackson is a singer-songwriter originally from South Carolina, and his new album Songs from the Briarpatch released late last year finds the artist shifting his style slightly to a new more mature and confident sound. Sandwiched somewhere between Americana and Heartland rock, the record fully embraces the atmosphere around Jackson’s current home of Nashville. While the album never explodes with bold or vibrantly over-the-top crescendos of dramatic expression, Jackson does sneak in through the back door and routinely surprises the listener with unexpected emotional moments through his subtly pensive and thoughtful songwriting that ultimately resonates for longer than anything more direct.
If there is one overarching sentiment, it is contentment with the little in life one is fortunate enough to have, even on a rainy day. This is clear on songs “Looks Like Today” and “Good Enough,” where Jackson echoes the Bruce Springsteen idea that life may be far from perfect but happiness can be found in the little imperfect moments (think “Tougher Than the Rest”). Even on more melancholy tracks like “Drinking My Way Home” there is a lingering sense that the storm clouds above aren’t permanent. Like the “old cedar box” described in “Polaroid Parade,” Songs from the Briarpatch plays like a collection of memories—some good, some bad, some in between—and the resulting feelings that emerge are not easy to pick apart. It is a fantastically nuanced and complex record that will undoubtedly hit home for many people in ways that are not immediately easy to understand.