Jackson Dean came out of the chute hot. Selling out bars around the same Maryland stompin’ grounds that gave the world the Brothers Osborne while still in high school, the free spirit wasn’t looking for fame as he made his way through the music business. After a stint in California, he found himself the object of a Nashville bidding war; sitting across a desk from his hard-working construction business father with four deals on the table.
“I don’t know what I thought it would be,” he concedes. “I was living in a little shack on my grandfather’s property, playing shows and writing songs. It was about the force of the music, and the way it moved people. That was what I was chasing, and I ended up here.”
Ultimately signing with Scott Borchetta, Dean – who’d been commuting to Nashville to write songs during the week, returning home to play freight-packed shows around the Eastern seaboard – embodies the notion of GREENBROKE, the name of his Big Machine Records debut that arrived last week. One word instead of two, a state of mind as well as being, it’s an ethos the hard-charging performer lives by.
“Never lose your wild,” explains Dean. “You can be tame enough to be in the room, but never let go of that untamed sense of who you are. That’s where your truest self lives.”
Working with Grammy-nominated songwriter/producer Luke Dick, they’ve crafted an atmospheric, musically-forward project where guitars slash, drums thump and Dean’s raw baritone creates a frenzy on the Cri du Coeur title track, the haunted courage of “Fearless,” the hushed benediction “Wings,” breezy ganjo-country of “Don’t Take Much” and the stomping National guitar-streaked first single “Don’t Come Lookin’.” Equal parts swagger and introspection, the musk of a young man’s machismo tempers that low slung delivery that comes from living life along the fringe.
“We’ve always made our way, done what we had to do,” explains the mature beyond his years writer. “We were raised to live without fear, to look what you had to do in the eye – and get on with it. There’s a freedom that comes with living that way. You know whatever happens, you’re gonna find a way. It goes back to the idea of being greenbroke; you can go anywhere, but that doesn’t mean you have to surrender your untamed self.”
In a genre obsessed with trucks, field parties, girls in Daisy Dukes and football games, GREENRBOKE suggests the arrival of a young artist who’s reaching a little higher, thinking a little deeper and reaching for a life that is something more. With the gauntlet-throwing “Don’t Come Lookin’,” there’s a sense of manifest destiny and a line drawn between thrown-away good times and someone who’s out there on the edge.
“It’s that idea of getting off by yourself, that ‘If I don’t come back, don’t come lookin’ feeling of getting gone and not wanting anyone getting in your way. I think everyone’s wanted that kind of escape or freedom. I figured it’d make a good song for anyone who’s ever been there.”
GREENBROKE released March 11, 2022. Orders available now Link here.
GREENBROKE Track List:
1. Don’t Come Lookin’ | Jackson Dean, Luke Dick
2. Trailer Park | Jackson Dean, Cary Barlowe, Jesse Frasure
3. Fearless | Jackson Dean, Luke Dick, Jonathan Scott Sherwood
4. Don’t Take Much | Jackson Dean, Marv Green, JT Harding
5. Superstitions | Jackson Dean, Luke Dick, Dan Tyminski
6. Love You Anymore | Jackson Dean, Brian Bunn, Phillip Lammonds
7. Red Light | Jackson Dean, Jonathan Scott Sherwood, Ryan Tyndell
8. Other Than Me | Jackson Dean, Bryan Simpson, Ryan Tyndell
9. Wings | Jackson Dean, Park Chisolm
10. Greenbroke | Jackson Dean, Jeff Hyde