Jackson Waters Gives Southern Edge to Come Undone

Artist: Jackson Waters
Title: Come Undone
Label: Word Records

With Come Undone, Jackson Waters (five-piece modern rockers out of Arkansas) lives up to the high expectations set up by their earlier attention-grabbing EP, Center of Attention. The full-length debut offers eleven tracks of pop-rock with a southern edge, a radio-friendly blend that easily straddles hard and soft rock while supplying an endless stream of hooks.

Keyboardist/lead vocalist David Leonard, guitarists Toby Friesen and Jesse LaFave, bassist Brian Meek, and drummer Ryan Hawk were students at John Brown University in Arkansas when they discovered their common desire to reach young people through music. Their dynamic live show and infectious pop rock sound won Jackson Waters quick notoriety in the Mid-west, and before long their Christian perspective and thoughtful lyrics found them a place on the TV drama One Tree Hill, their solid musicality winning them the youth platform they had desired from the first.

Opener “Everything” feels like Coldplay meets Maroon 5, radio-friendly guitar-driven pop-rock with an atmospheric sensibility, but not particularly fresh.  The first radio single follows, "Give Me Amazing Grace,” an upbeat praise track, fairly ordinary. The moody title track fares much better, Leonard’s vocals dripping with passion over the howling undertones, reminiscent of Third Day in its southern rock edge and fat chorus. The tender “Jamie’s Song” follows, a perfectly placed emotional howler. Jackson Waters then shows its easy diversity with mid-tempo track “One More Day,” a twelve-string pacing restlessly through the sparkling keys.

I love the stealth opening of “Center of Attention” with Leonard pinning you to your seat with his quietly haunting tones and insightful lyrics. He makes much of a little with his minimalist wind-up, before the bluesy chord changes lead into a soaring electric bridge. They next take a sharp right turn with the completely irresistible “Ready to Find Love,” a sunny pop-rocker with a soaring melody line that just won’t quit. “Different” celebrates the joys of new life with slammin’ rock beats, and closer “Let It Fly” lifts you by the seat of your pants with its pounding rhythms, melodic changes and more of Leonard’s unfailing vocals.

Despite a few stale tracks, Jackson Waters’ Come Undone, is still a very noteworthy debut and well worth your time.

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