About Jackson Waters
Great pop music is much like a finely woven tapestry. Different shades and textures provide depth and color that capture attention and invite closer inspection. Jackson Waters creates that kind of music. Talented musicians with varied sonic influences and personal testimonies, they mesh together to forge an engaging pop sound anchored by compelling lyrics that explore faith in a fresh context.
Jackson Waters cannot be compared with any current or preceding band; even words like “bright,” “significant” and “essential” don’t begin to scratch the surface of their refreshing, distinct and somehow so-familiar sound. With a decidedly pop/rock core that is perfectly peppered with incredible ballad moments, it’s hard to imagine that the lyrics could also hold their own weight and pass every intellectual lyrical test with flying colors, and yet, they do. So how do you technically classify Jackson Waters? The members of the band simply call it “life rock.”
Jackson Waters gained an enthusiastic fan base that loved the band's energetic live shows and eclectic musical personality. "The best thing about our band and our sound is we all come from different backgrounds and musical influences," says drummer Ryan Hawk citing such diverse influences as Stevie Wonder, the Black Crowes, Keith Green, Steven Curtis Chapman, dcTalk and Boyz II Men. "It's like taking the best music over the last 50 years and trying to put it back together. I think we've done a decent job with that."
To meld those diverse influences into a sound all their own, the band began working with Rob Hawkins, an up-and-coming producer who had worked with David Crowder on his Sunsets and Sushi album. As a friend of Word Records A&R guru Otto Price, Hawkins began sharing the Jackson Waters project. Price’s enthusiasm for the band’s fresh sound soon led to a deal with Word Records.
The band’s debut album, Come Undone (2007) truly showcases the band’s diverse and infectious style. The first single, “Give Me Amazing Grace,” is a powerful anthem that talks about the beauty of experiencing God’s grace. Bassist Brian Meek lists “Give It Away” and “ Center of Attention ” as his favorite songs on the album because of the unique way they are put together musically. “Let It Fly” is another favorite that Toby says is, “Powerful. It speaks to what we’re doing right now—venturing out there.”
Another particular track, “Jamie’s Song,” is a relevant, hope-filled ballad that is sure to connect with listeners. Lead singer David says that “Come Undone” is his favorite, though. “The song is just about the skeletons in our closets. We all have a past and things we’ve done wrong, but we have a Father that loves us despite our imperfections. I think that’s the beauty of Christianity.” Each listen through takes the audience deeper into the lyrics and message, but essentially, only one listen through is necessary for Come Undone to become a CD collection staple.
Between their appealing sound and down-to-earth, accessible personalities, Jackson Waters easily gained a large following. Guitarist Toby Friesen says, “We just love hanging around after each show and talking with everyone. We feel like that is our ministry—being real with the people who come out to see us.” Ryan adds that their
musical diversity creates an audience that ranges everywhere from thirteen-year-old junior-high students to fifty-year-old parents. With collective influences ranging from Keith Green and Steven Curtis Chapman to the Black Crowes and Boyz II Men, Ryan says, “It’s sort of like how both kids and parents alike are crazy about the Beatles...people of all ages can identify with our music.”
"We always were Christian guys in a band and every song we wrote about was about us or life, what we were going through, what our friends were going through and that still is the case," says lead singer David Leonard, who sees the band's audience as diverse. "It's a wide range. We've played to 15 year olds that love it and then their parents would come and they love it. We do have a lot of Southern rock influence and a lot of parents really love that because they grew up on that. We're hoping that everybody really catches it."