Jonathan Jackson + Enation Radio Cinematic on Limited Edition 2LP
Like any siblings, guitarist Jonathan Jackson and drummer Richard Lee Jackson used to specialize in discord. Their preteen years in Washington state involved a lot of "rolling around on the ground and punching, choking, all kind of things," recalls the latter. One indelible memory even involves a spat, a hockey stick, and multiple stitches. But thankfully, that didn't last long. Because once Jonathan (then 11) finally convinced his reluctant older brother (then 14) to jam with him in their parents' basement, cacophony led way to harmony - and that formed an unwavering foundation for Jonathan Jackson + Enation, their anthemic rock band, who returned in 2014 with their fourth album, Radio Cinematic.
"I'm sure it sounded like crap," explains Jonathan, of their first time playing together. "But we played for three hours and thought it was the most incredible thing ever." Their skill set has evolved considerably since then. These days, the Nashville band Jonathan Jackson + Enation - which also includes longtime friend, bassist Daniel Sweatt - has independently released music that's popped up on TV and charted in the top 10 on iTunes' rock chart. In 2011, their ever-sprawling grassroots fan base also buoyed them on to win a national AOL competition, which featured the trio on a Times Square billboard.
The brothers first dipped their toes into music "professionally" as members of Scarlet Road, a classic-rock band with their father, country artist Ricky Lee Jackson, and his brother Gary. Jonathan was just 14 and Richard 17 when, decked out in leather, they performed songs such as U2's "Bullet the Blue Sky" to adult concertgoers at venues like the Whiskey a Go Go. These trials by fire helped tighten up their live shows. "Sometimes the audience just didn't care, so there was a real fight to get people's attention and do something they'd remember," says Jonathan. "I wasn't out partying - I was studying how bands like U2 do the things they do."
Acts such as U2, Pearl Jam, and Peter Gabriel not only shaped Enation's confident sound, but also informed their desire to create music that lingers. With their dad's blessing, the brothers decided to make music a full-time occupation, and they recruited Daniel. That was over 15 years ago. And as a nod to that enduring synergy, Radio Cinematic served as the first Jonathan Jackson + Enation album produced to sound like their invigorating concerts. The theme of illumination resonates through Radio Cinematic, co-produced by Greg Archilla (Matchbox 20, Collective Soul) and Patrick Dillett (David Byrne, The National) - starting with its lead single, the sprawling, swelling "Everything Is Possible."
The track unfolds intimately - a tug of war between simmering piano and soaring falsettos. More specific in its assertions of love, it revisits “new beginnings by colliding a love story with our musical journey as a band,” says Jonathan. That is perhaps Radio Cinematic’s most intriguing magic trick: its uncanny ability to look forward by first looking back.