Click here for Tony Jackson’s One-Sheet
Country music newcomer Tony Jackson surrounded himself with industry’s elites such as Hall of Famer Vince Gill, Rock & Roll Hall of Famers John Sebastian and Steve Cropper and Steel Guitar Hall of Famer Paul Franklin for a glorious new recording of the immortal “Nashville Cats.”
“Cats” follows “Drink By Drink” as the second single from Jackson’s self-titled debut album, Tony Jackson, which is due out in early 2017. It was co-produced by Donna Dean-Stevens, former Mercury Records artist (as Donna Meade) and widow of Country Music Hall of Fame member Jimmy Dean, along with Jim Della Croce, who also serves as Jackson’s manager.
Sebastian penned “Nashville Cats” as a tribute to Music City’s endlessly creative studio musicians and recorded and released it 50 years ago, in November of 1966 with his band, The Lovin’ Spoonful. It promptly became a Top 10 hit and has since been recorded by acts ranging from Flatt & Scruggs to Johnny Cash. The phrase Nashville cats has long since been adopted to recognize the mastery of Nashville’s exceptional musicians.
Jackson is currently a headliner on the recurring Old Dominion Barn Dance in Richmond, Virginia, where he electrifies audiences with his masterful renditions of country standards. He has performed to standing-room-only crowds and is developing into a sought after touring act performing over 75 concerts annually.
While the Jackson clan hails from Virginia, Tony was raised in a military family and travelled the world before graduating high school and joining the armed services himself. It was while in the Marines that he first started paying serious attention to country music. “Growing up, my mother listened only to gospel,” he says. “My dad was into jazz, hip hop, R&B, new jack swing—stuff like that. My radio station was Armed Forces Radio, which played everything. When I was living in Rota, Spain I got to meet Randy Travis while there on a USO tour. Some friends and I went out when they were setting up the stage, and we actually got to talk to him before we realized he was the guy who’d be performing later. He was really cool to us. In the Marine Corps, when my friends and I played music for each other, we were all homesick. So when you’d listen to these country songs that talked about family and home and heartbreak, it would really grab you. It was a combination of those things that got country on my radar.”
A song that particularly appealed to Jackson was George Jones’ “The Grand Tour.” After Jones’ death, Jackson and some friends went into a studio and recorded the song as a tribute, including a performance video that eventually wound up on YouTube. Dean-Stevens saw it and invited Jackson to perform the song on the Old Dominion Barn Dance, a prestigious live variety program similar to the Grand Ole Opry. When the crowd gave Jackson a standing ovation—an honor that hadn’t yet been accorded any of the show’s headliners—she offered him a spot on the program as a recurring performer.
Based on the overwhelming audience and community feedback, Dean-Stevens and Della Croce decided that Tony Jackson’s is a voice that needs to be shared with country music fans everywhere. Since mid 2015, Jackson has been recording at the hallowed RCA Studios, in the heart of Nashville’s Music Row. In addition to those featured in “Nashville Cats,” Jackson is backed by some of the finest musicians on the planet, among them drummer Billy Thomas and fiddler Joe Spivey, who, along with Gill and Franklin, are in the award-winning group, the Time Jumpers; Bill Payne of Little Feat; Bill Lloyd, of Foster & Lloyd; Mickey Raphael of Willie Nelson’s band; and James Taylor’s vocal ensemble, David Lasley, Arnold McCuller and Kate Markowitz, Henry Gross, Steve Cropper, Bekka Bramlett and Tom “Bones” Malone.
Tony Jackson will release a promotional sampler of 4 songs in October, 2016 as a foretaste to his debut album release slated for first quarter, 2016.
# # #
Management & Booking: Donna Dean-Stevens & Jim Della Croce 615.419.9989 email@example.com
Label: DDS Entertainment Nashville, TN
Produced by Donna Dean-Stevens & Jim Della Croce
Recorded at RCA Studio A and RCA Studio C Nashville, TN Engineered by Eddie Gore
Public Relations: The Press Office firstname.lastname@example.org
Radio Promotion: TZM Promotions – Tim McFadden, Ann Chrisman, and Regina Raleigh
So Tony Jackson is up there on stage, and he’s singing . . .
Step right up, come on in if you’d like to take the grand tour
Of a lonely house that once was home sweet home.
Jackson knows how to work a bar crowd. He’s done it for years. How to hone his voice to that sharp, emphatic edge that slices through the noise, and tones down the loud table conversations and clinking bottles. But tonight is different. This is the Old Dominion Barn Dance with an older, more sedate audience—one not primed for partying by alcohol and visions of late-night hookups. They’re polite and attentive, of course, but they’ve still got that make-me-care look on their faces. So he drives deeper into the mournful George Jones classic.
I have nothing here to sell you, just some things that I will tell you,
Some things I know will chill you to the bone.
Then he notices the iPhone cameras popping up all along the front row. This is good. This is a sign.
As you leave you’ll see the nursery, oh she left me without mercy
Taking nothing but our baby and my heart.
As the last note dissolves into memory, the crowd springs to its feet. Not just a few people, mind you, but all of them. Jackson bows and sweeps his arm back toward the band. And still they cheer.
Presenting Tony Jackson
Tony Jackson is now a regular performer on the Old Dominion Barn Dance in Richmond, Virginia and almost certainly the only Bank of America official ever to enjoy a thriving parallel career in country music. Apart from fronting around 75 shows this year, Jackson is currently recording a project in Nashville that will embrace both his original songs and such revered standards as the wistful “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind” and the irrepressibly sunny “Bummin’ Around.”
Jackson didn’t grow up a fan of country music. Nor was he swept into it after it surged in popularity in the 1990s. The son of a Navy man, he was raised primarily in Virginia. But like most military kids, he led a base-to-base existence, at one point living with his family in Rota, Spain for three years. He concedes that his early musical background was sketchy at best. “I sang in the Christmas play in the sixth grade,” he recalls. “I had a solo—‘White Christmas.’ Everybody seemed to love it, but I was a wreck. My mother forced me to sing in the church choir, but I was kind of buried in the voices along with everybody else.” This was basically his whole musical resume until “eight or nine years ago” when a friend whose band had lost its lead singer asked Jackson to try out for the spot. “I did,” he says, “and I was hooked after that.”
Two weeks after graduating from high school, Jackson joined the Marines. “I told my dad I was joining because I was sick of taking orders,” he says with a wry grin. There was as much getting-ahead as gung-ho in Jackson’s enlistment. “I was a computer and electronics geek as a teenager,” he says. “When I talked to the recruiter, he told me the Marine Corps had just started a computer science school in Quantico, Virginia. Fortunately, I scored high enough on the entrance exam to go to that school.” It was a smart move. When he finished service, the Bank of America in Richmond snapped him up to work in its Information Technology division, initially assigning him the lowly chore of re-setting passwords. “I was way overqualified,” he says, “but all I knew was I didn’t have to get up at 5:30 in the morning anymore and go running around in the mountains. I’d come into the bank around 8 o’clock, re-set specific passwords and I’m good. I got promoted fast. I was a senior vice president by my early 30s. Now I manage the network operations center for the bank.”
It was while in the Marines that he first started paying serious attention to country music. “My mother listened only to gospel,” he says. “My dad was into jazz, hip hop, R&B, new jack swing—stuff like that. But Armed Forces Radio played everything. When I was living in Spain—when I was 10 to 13—Randy Travis came over there on a USO tour. Some friends and I were out there early when they were setting up the stage, and we actually got to talk to him before we realized he was the guy who’d be performing later. He was really cool to us. In the Marine Corps, when my friends and I played music for each other, we were all homesick. So when you’d listen to these country songs that talked about family and home and heartbreak, it would really grab you. It was a combination of those things that got country on my radar.”
A song that particularly appealed to Jackson was George Jones’ “The Grand Tour.” When Jones died, Jackson and some friends went into a studio and recorded it. In the process, they also made a performance video that eventually wound up on YouTube. Somehow, singer Donna Meade saw the video then circulating around Richmond and decided Jackson should do “The Grand Tour” on the Old Dominion Barn Dance, which she had just resurrected. A commanding performer in her own right, Meade is also the widow of Country Music Hall of Fame member Jimmy Dean and a zealous guardian of his vast musical legacy. After she witnessed Jackson’s standing ovation—an honor that hadn’t yet been accorded to any of the show’s headliners—she offered to co-manage and co-produce him with noted talent manager Jim Della Croce.
Meade and Della Croce then whisked Jackson to Nashville to record at the hallowed RCA Records Studio C, where he is now well into completing a projected EP. Jackson is no newcomer to Nashville, however. He and his band—Jackson Ward—recorded a CD there in 2013 and performed at Tootsie’s and Honk Tonk Central, two of Music City’s brightest beacons for live shows.
In 2016, Meade and Della Croce will take Jackson’s original composition and first single, “Drink By Drink,” to radio and iTunes. In it, listeners will discover one of the strongest, most emotionally engaging voices since Randy Travis blew the doors off country music in 1985 and ushered in a new era. Until then, folks can sample Jackson’s magic at www.tonyjacksonmusic.com.
So step right up. Come on in.