Five Min­utes Alone: Jonathan Jack­son

The ac­tor/mu­si­cian be­hind Nashville’s Avery Barkley re­veals how the TV show (and U2) shaped his play­ing

Total Guitar - - CONTENTS -

“if you’re go­ing to go out there through the dif­fi­cult times, the mu­sic has to help you”

I got my first real six-string

“The first gui­tar that I owned, fun­nily enough, was called the Jack­son. I was eight, it wasn’t a full size. The first full-size one that I got was a Wash­burn in a beau­ti­ful blue. I started tak­ing lessons when I was eight. What in­spired me to play was my un­cle; he was a gui­tar player, so I must have just asked him when I was re­ally lit­tle to show me a few chords. My fam­ily’s al­ways been mu­si­cal, my dad plays bass gui­tar and sings so I was around it a lot.”

When push comes to shove

“Singing and play­ing – that was cer­tainly a tran­si­tion that took place over my teenage years, feel­ing com­fort­able with the in­tri­ca­cies go­ing on while you’re singing. Do­ing it on the show has been re­ally chal­leng­ing at times. You get sent the most in­tri­cate gui­tar track from some of the best mu­si­cians in the world in Nashville; they’re just jam­ming and cre­at­ing this re­ally in­ter­est­ing thing. Then you only have three or four days be­fore you have to sing it and learn the gui­tar part. It stretched me a lot as a gui­tar player. It’s im­proved my play­ing for sure, when you’re pushed to go in a di­rec­tion that you wouldn’t nor­mally do.”

Gui­tar town

“They’ve handed me some sweet gui­tars on

Nashville. My favourite is the Gib­son 335. I love it. I was in­tro­duced to it from the show, it’s one of Avery’s gui­tars. There’s a beau­ti­ful Gib­son SJ, it’s an acous­tic from the early 1950s that Avery uses on the show, it’s prob­a­bly the most spec­tac­u­lar acous­tic gui­tar that I’ve ever played. It’s so beau­ti­ful; you feel like you can play things on it that you wouldn’t nor­mally be able to. [Nashville’s mu­sic di­rec­tor and song­writer] Colin Lin­den, who’s a bril­liant gui­tar player, he went out and got one too.”

Livin’ On The Edge

“I don’t lis­ten to much Dire Straits, but my se­cond gui­tar teacher had me play some of their stuff be­cause of how clean the gui­tar work is. That was some­thing I al­ways took with me. The Edge from U2 has a very sim­i­lar ap­proach. I used to watch DVDs of U2’s tour in ’92 and try to fig­ure out how he was play­ing what he was play­ing. Us­ing two or three strings as op­posed to all six can some­times be more pow­er­ful; I was never re­ally af­ter the gi­ant solo. I love the gui­tar work in a lot of U2’s mu­sic. If you look at the so­los on One or With Or With­out You, they’re re­ally un­der­stated, but they hit that emo­tional spot well.”

The harder they come

“I re­mem­ber in 2004 I was try­ing to scream in my vo­cals and I screamed so much I al­most passed out! The first decade that I was cre­at­ing mu­sic with Ena­tion, there were a lot of dif­fi­cul­ties, but in­ter­est­ingly it brought out some of the best songs. Some of the most hope­ful songs have come from the most dis­heart­en­ing mo­ments. Ev­ery­thing Is Pos­si­ble, is a real an­them, but that was writ­ten when I was feel­ing re­ally hor­ri­ble. If you’re go­ing to go out there through the dif­fi­cult times, the mu­sic it­self has to help you. I’m hap­pily mar­ried, I have three kids, I love be­ing home, I’m not go­ing to go out on the road just for the sake of do­ing it.”

10 Jack­son: lover of the Gib­son 335 acous­tic

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