Jackson Dean Concert Review

To follow up on last month’s (August – Folio Go-To-Entertainment Guide) interview with Lee Brice, I went to the show at the famed St. Augustine AMP excited to see the show. But, besides Brice, I also really wanted to see Jackson Dean. He’s made a big debut splash in the country music radio pond with his hit “Don’t Come Lookin”. A song inspired by a phrase he used to tell his mother back in Odenton, Maryland. It also didn’t hurt that Paramount Plus had the song featured in it’s MONSTER hit show Yellowstone starring Kevin Costner and the spin off 1883 with labelmate Tim McGraw and his wife Faith Hill. Lee Brice was right when he described Jackson as an “old sole”. Dean left home for Nashville when he was 18, signed with Big Machine Records in 2021 and so far, doesn’t seem to be looking back.
Before Nashville, Jackson Dean lived (by his choice) in the tack barn on his family’s farm in Odenton, a room that many of his family lived in before him. No a/c, no heat, just him, black walls and his music. It was his father who asked him repeatedly to prepare a song that he could take to an open mic night to try out his stuff. Finally, Jackson did, and it was with “What You Can’t Have” by Drake White. It was the sight of his father, crying in the back of the bar that made him realize…we may have something here. His father’s emotions inspired him to keep on going down the road.

On these massive arena shows like Lee Brice’s, the opening act is there for a first review by the audience, an introduction, and to get the audience excited. All the showy elements of the stage show are for the headliner. However, without all the lights and pyrotechnics, Jackson held on to the huge stage in St. Augustine. His voice is gritty and grainy and brings an air of authenticity that is wonderful to hear. Another thing you’ll hear is a voice that doesn’t sound like it belongs to a 20-year-old. With a Stapleton-esque vibe, the young singer/songwriter delivers on his debut album “Greenbroke”. The record embraces the mindset that things will turn out okay, but there might be a few bumps in the road along the way. In an interview with Madeliene O’Connell at Music Mayhem Magazine, Dean said, “Time only moves forward, it doesn’t go backwards and neither can we. A lot of the driving motion of the tunes and the running comes from that. A good bit is just like, time only flows one way, and it’s just like riding a river. You put your feet up and go. No matter what, you just keep your feet out in front of you, keep your feet on the ground.”

Growing up around musical influences such as Waylon Jennings, Aretha Franklin, David Allen Coe, Led Zeppelin, ACDC, and Bruce Springsteen led Dean to create what he calls, “musical fusion.” He brought this term back from the School of Rock series.

I think making records is like bringing a lot of different worlds into one place to meet, in terms of sounds, writing, styles, breakdowns and turnarounds,” he explained. “That’s why I use musical fusion, because you literally just fuse ’em all together.”

This year, Dean has served as an opening act for stars like Brooks and Dunn as well as Lee Brice, who he’s shot with, drank with, and even rode four wheelers with. “Every time I see him it’s nothing but good vibes,” Dean said about Brice. He has also become pretty close with the country music legend Clay Walker. About two years ago, Walker (Folio’s VERY FIRST Country video interview in the digital Go-To-Entertainment Guide) shared some wisdom with the young singer that was previously given to him by another legend in the business.

“We were sitting on a store bus in South Carolina,” Dean explained. “He goes, ‘George Strait gave me this talk when I was about your age and now, I’m giving it to you. ‘No matter what, you have to put this first, cause if you don’t, your family doesn’t eat. Whatever you have to do to keep yourself running, do it. Whoever has to go, whoever has to step in, make it happen. And just make sure that you keep your sh*t straight,’ is what he said to me.”

Something tells me that this isn’t the last we’ll see of Jackson Dean. I have this feeling that he’ll be back through the area again only this time, he’ll be the headliner. And, If you loved “Don’t Come Lookin’” give “Trailor Park” a listen. You’ll be glad you did.

About Rob Nicholson

Rob started his media career in the late 80’s working in the Press Office at the Georgia House of Representatives. From there, Rob segued in to Radio at The Voice of Georgia State University, WRAS Album 88.5 in Atlanta. In the early 90’s Rob was picked up by the Radio 2000 Group and became Program Director and later Vice President of Programming USA. In the late 90’s, while running 3 music-driven radio stations in Springfield, Missouri, Rob had the opportunity to put together and launch, Southwest Missouri’s Regional Periodical, 417 Magazine. A publication that is still in circulation today. After selling his interests in Radio 2000 in the early 2000’s, Rob returned to his hometown of Jacksonville Beach, Florida to be near family. For 10 years he worked with the Clear Channel Radio Stations: Planet Radio and KISS-FM. In 2010, Rob took a hiatus from radio and went in to concert promotion and event planning, while also running the now 30 year old Beaches Hospitality Network – the organization that is well known for bringing the Superbowl, 2004 to the beaches area. When presented with the opportunity to work with Folio Weekly Magazine, Rob said, “there was no way I could resist an opportunity to work with the local, independent news magazine in the city I’m from. I can’t wait to get to work every morning”. Rob currently resides in North Jax Beach with his brother, Rich and dog, Tonka.