Every once in a while the music industry often has break out artists that stand out, as a little bit different and unique. At times these musicians begin a new musical culture. We saw that as Elvis introduced rock ‘n’ roll. The Beatles took the Ed Sullivan show by storm, Diana Ross & The Supremes lead the Motown revolution, KISS began a hair-band revolution. Tupac made his mark in hip hop/rap, and Kurt Cobain became legendary as part of the grunge phase. It’s been a while since this musical culture shifted.
As I cover shows across the state I see a trend occurring. I notice more so often than not, a great majority of musicians are returning to the basics. You know, a good song, a great voice, a clear instrument, and not so much lighting that they become a figment amongst smoke and mirrors. Yes, these are the bands and musicians that seem to be making their way today in the sea of musical opportunities.
Enter Jonathan Jackson +Enation. Most of the readers know Jackson as Avery on ABC’s hit television show, Nashville, where he plays a musician. On the show Avery’s character stands out as unique and special, and not fitting the form of the traditional country music we’ve grown accustomed to.
Joined in Enation is Jackson’s older brother, also an accomplished actor, Richard Lee Jackson, and Daniel Sweatt — who is one of the most talented musicians out there. Together these three blend together in a perfect mix that makes up one heck of a rock band. Yes I said a rock band.
When I first came across this band I was surprised to learn how long they’ve played together, and although I was late to the party, I was so happy to have gotten there. Touring currently with their fourth album, these three have been perfecting their craft. Striving to capture that energy from their live show. Radio Cinematic I believe has achieved just that. Having heard their album before their live performance I questioned and hoped whether their live show would live up to my expectations. Well it did just that, and then far exceeded those expectations.
Opening the evening was a local Pop/Rock/Alternative/Indie band from the Ithaca area called Maple Hill. These four young men were quite energetic. Not only did they prime the crowd for the main event, they were actually quite humorous and entertaining throughout their own set. Their new album, Headspace will be released June 19, 2015. Joel Beckwith (Bass), St. John Faulkner (Drums), Max Gaeta (Lead Guitar), and Kristian Wood-Gaiger (Vocals/Guitar) amped up the crowd with original music and remixed covers such as Drake’s, “We’re Going Home”.
They thoroughly surprised and delighted me with their style, sound, and high energy performance. I highly recommend if you are in the area of The Dock (415 Taughannock Blvd. Ithaca, NY 14850) June 18, you should stop by and join them to help celebrate their record release party from 7-10pm. All ages are welcome and the cover charge is only $5.
Then came Jonathan, Richard, and Daniel who from the moment the spot light hit Jonathan at the piano and he began to sing, I was totally blown away. Opening with “Young World’s Riot,” Jonathan’s voice along with his piano permeated your soul.
As they moved into the rest of the set, Richard’s percussion laid down a constant rhythm while Daniel’s bass and resounding vocals added to Jonathan’s, and together they found a synchronicity that not only encapsulated the live sound they were striving to achieve on the album, but far exceeded my expectations. From the moment they began playing right up to the end, I was in a hypnotic trance. In addition to mesmerizing the entire audience, they took the time to recognize a special guest on her birthday and dedicated a song to the sweet young lady.
These kind young men were gracious, appreciative, and as famous as they all are in their own rights between television and movie stardom, you wouldn’t know it as their humility was refreshing. As they wrapped up the evening, Jonathan took to the piano once again to close out the show as he began, with Young World’s Riot, moving me almost to tears.
I highly recommend if they come anywhere within driving distance (or if you’re up for a road trip) to take in one of the shows on the second leg of the Radio Cinematic Tour this year. If you can’t catch them live this time around, by all means head straight to their website to purchase this album. You will be glad you did.
Setlist: Maple Hill
Never Enough (original)
Well, Well, Well, How the Turntables (original)
Hold on, We’re Going Home (Drake cover)
Space to Grow (original)
Stomping Ground (original)
Jack Blinked (original)
Set List: Jonathan Jackson +Enation
Young World’s Riot
Things You’ve Never Seen
Kicked In The Head
The One I Love
Everything Is Possible
All The Best
Let The Beauty Out
I See God In You
The Hands of Your Drug
Let Me Out
The National Anthem
In My Tree
A Far Away Reality
Keep Asking Why
The Morning Of The Rain
Eyes of Grace (Birthday Dedication to Miss Lily)
Young World’s Riot