David Luning with Jade Jackson

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David Luning with Jade Jackson
Friday, June 14, 2019 8:30 PM
Mystic Theatre & Music Hall, Petaluma, CA
  • 21 & over
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Show Details
  • Ticket Price: $18.00 - $20.00
  • Door Time: 7:30 PM
  • Show Type: Country
  • Restrictions: 21 & over
Performing Artists (Click on Artist for Reviews and Previews)
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Country Roots Presents: 

David Luning
with Jade Jackson

Doors 7:30pm / Show 8:30pm
Price: $18 in advance / $20 day of show 

http://countryrootslive.com

David Luning: 
John Prine forced David Luning to drop out of college. Not at gunpoint or anything— the two had never even met—but the effect of hearing the songwriting legend's music for the first time had an equally compelling effect on Luning, who was studying film scoring at the Berklee College of Music in Boston at the time. Now an accomplished artist in his own right, Luning is preparing to release his most dynamic and gripping collection to date, 'Restless,' and he can trace it all back to one fateful night that changed everything.

"A couple of friends invited me over to share some songs at their apartment, and that was the first time I'd ever really listened to Americana music or folk or country or whatever you want to call it," remembers Luning. "They showed me John Prine, and it just resonated with me so much. I was like, 'Oh my god, this is what I have to do with my life.' I just figured it out in that moment."

Luning dropped out of school almost immediately, moved back to his native California, and devoted himself to songwriting and performing. He worked his way up through open mics to large festival performances, piecing together a band to flesh out his songs along the way and hitting the road to tour with a fierce determination. His selfreleased debut album, 'Just Drop On By,' garnered acclaim from both critics and fellow musicians alike, with country megastar Keith Urban hailing Luning's "staunch originality." Songs from the album landed numerous film and TV placements, most recently on NBC's 'Grimm,' and Luning's reputation for exhilarating live performances earned him dates with luminaries like Jackie Greene, Dave and Phil Alvin, and Elvin Bishop, along with a slew of festival performances up and down the West Coast.

If 'Just Drop On by' announced the arrival of a promising new talent, 'Restless' delivers on that potential and then some. Recorded under the guidance of engineer/producer Karl Derfler (Tom Waits, Dave Matthews) and with Luning's longtime live bandmates— Ben Dubin (bass & harmonica), Linden Reed (drums), and Dave Sampson (guitar & mandolin)—the album marks a major step forward, both sonically and emotionally.

"With the first record, I produced and engineered everything myself," explains Luning. "I'd never worked with an outside producer before, so it was nerve-racking going into the studio with Karl for the first time, but it was just a perfect fit. It was like he knew what I wanted in my music before I even did, and he could push my performances where they needed to go and really take my music to another level."

Luning and his band set up shop at the stunning Panoramic Studios in Stinson, California, crafting a darker, grittier vibe for the music and exploring a wider palette than ever before. While many of Luning's songs are inspired by the lives and stories of the men and women he's grown up with in California or met on the road, the lyrics are all filtered through his own unique perspective and reflect his remarkable personal journey. Perhaps no track fits that bill more directly than "Driftin,'" an infectious road warrior's anthem that find's Luning singing, "I wanna keep on drifting like a rambling man."

"I had so much fun on tour going from place to place and playing to new people all the time and I got into the rhythm of it all, so when it ended and we came home I wasn't ready to stop," he explains. "We pulled into Ben's house to unload our gear and I said, 'Ben, we're packing up and we're gonna go somewhere tomorrow right? We're gonna keep on going right?'"

Much of the album is uptempo and exuberant—"Almost Sounds Like Laughing" is a footstomping folk tune with the energy of a runaway train—but Luning shows off his remarkable depth and range on some of the record's more restrained tracks, like the slow-burning "Brother In Chains" and delicate "Gonna Forget About You," which finds him pulling his vocals back to an intimate near-whisper that conveys a world of heartache and regret. "In Hell I Am" started life as an acoustic blues on a resonator guitar before morphing into a fiery, electric rocker, while "Bet It All On Black" takes on a harder, Southern edge, with Luning repeating the mantra, "Ain't no use in holding back."

"It's essentially about a person who's kind of carefree," he says, "and they know that something might not be the best thing to do, but they're going all in with it anyway. They're just going for it, regardless of the outcome and any repercussions they might face."

If that sounds familiar, perhaps like the attitude of a man who might risk everything to drop out of school and move across the country to pursue a dream, it's no coincidence. With songs this good, it's a safe bet that a restless soul like David Luning is going to keep on traveling for a long time to come. 



Jade Jackson:
Within seconds after a guitar plays the intro to her song “Aden,” Jade Jackson’s voice, illuminated by experience, sings: “I grew up my father’s daughter. He said don’t take no shit from no one. You’ll never see me cry …”
 
And it’s with that voice and those lyrics that imply a thousand stories, this singer/songwriter hints at what she is capable of crafting, of how many tears she can stir in recounting her rambles to the far corners of her imagination, further even than she has actually travelled.
 
For Jackson has spent much of her time in a small California town, working in her parents’ restaurant, jotting down verses and picking out chords during breaks, then venturing eventually to more formal music studies in college before coming back home and startling listeners with the depth and intensity of her music.
 
Scheduled to release in May on Anti- Records, Gilded introduces her preternatural writing and raw, roots-rough sound. Surrounded by the close friends and gifted musicians that constitute her band, Jackson finds the perfect twist of phrase again and again, to express regret (“Let me walk over the bridges I’ve burned,” on the mournful “Bridges”), foreboding (“He kept his shiny blue gun underneath his dash/Deep inside she knew their lives were gonna crash,” a doomsday premonition set to a galloping beat and spaghetti-Western guitar on “Troubled End”) and freedom (“I feel my boot heels sink in quicksand, baby, every time we kiss,” she tells her baffled lover on “Motorcycle.” “Ah, understand, boy, it’s been fun, but my motorcycle only seats one.”)
 
How did Jackson develop this command so young? First, of course, she was born with talent, which her home life nurtured. Though neither parent was a musician, both of them — especially her father — listened constantly to a range of artists, from Johnny Cash and Hank Williams to The Smiths, The Cure and assorted punk outfits.
 
“There was always music at home,” Jackson remembers. “In fact, it weirded me out when I’d go to a friend’s house and we were supposed to be quiet.”
 
Just as important, she had a compelling reason to develop her talent from an early age.
 
“I was just bored!” she insists. “That’s why I started playing guitar. I’d grown up in a really small house in a small town. I shared a room with my brother and sister until I was 12. Then when I was 13 we moved about 30 miles away to Santa Margarita because my parents wanted to open a restaurant there. So there were more people around but I didn’t know anybody. That summer it was 118 degrees and we didn’t have air conditioning. I didn’t have any friends. My parents were kind of anti-technology, so I grew up without the Internet.”
 
So she found escape on her own. “Even before I picked up the guitar, my favorite thing was to tell stories. I was so in love with poetry: I would watch how people reacted when I read something I wrote … and then I’d put myself in their shoes and try to imagine how it felt to be them because I was kind of sheltered.”
 
She wrote prolifically — still does, in fact. “I couldn’t stop,” she admits. “I would write on whatever I could grab. If I was in the car, I’d write on a piece of trash. If there was no trash, I’d write on cardboard. In my junior year of high school, the local newspaper did a story that said ‘Jade Jackson writes a song every day!’ They had me count all the songs I’d written by then and I think I was up to 375.”
 
The numbers grew. Through hard work and a willingness to challenge herself with each new effort, the quality of the music grew too. At the same time, Jackson began thinking about music as possibly something more than a private escape. This epiphany dates back to the night she went to a concert for the first time without her parents; the headliner that night was one of her favorites, Social Distortion. 
 
“When I watched Mike Ness walk onstage and felt the energy from the crowd, it ignited something in me,” Jackson says. “I wanted to be on that stage too. I never knew I wanted to perform until that day. That shifted all the gears in my life.”
 
She began by playing every Sunday at a coffee shop in Santa Margarita. “They had a guitar hanging on the wall, so I’d take it down, spread all my lyrics out on the floor, sit on the couch and read them from there,” she says, with a laugh. “But then this musician named Don Lampson saw me playing. He asked if I wanted to open for him. So I memorized four or five of my songs and for the first time in my life, sang through a microphone. I connected with that energy of performing. I loved it when I could make people feel emotions through my songs.”
 
Her following, like her catalog, grew steadily. By the time she’d completed high school, Jackson’s work had become impressive enough to persuade Cal Arts to accept her into its music program. There, she had her first formal music instruction as well as some more personal struggles and applied both to finessing her craft even further.
 
“When I was little and listening to Johnny Cash, his songs were so sad, kind of slow and melancholy,” she says. “I didn’t understand what the words meant but I understood how they made me feel. In college, when I had my first taste of real depression, all of a sudden his songs and Hank Williams’s stories came true. I was like, ‘Holy shit! Now I actually know what those words meant!’ It was like a circle completing itself.”
 
One more circle led Jackson to her most critical step forward, when she and Mike Ness began working together. Jackson’s mother and Ness’ wife had been friends in high school, which brought the two artists together. A short while after hearing her perform, he offered to mentor her. They assembled the band that’s been by her side since they came together. He agreed to produce Gilded as well.
 
“He gave me homework,” she points out. “He made me listen to Lucinda Williams’s Car Wheels On A Gravel Road and told me to listen only to that album for the next three or so months. That was the template of the album he wanted to create with me, so I picked from songs of mine that had a similar feel. If I didn’t have him, Gilded would have been a lot more scattered.”
 
That’s the key, right there. Gilded is a closed circuit, a masterwork of emotional honesty, of epic tales and intimate confessions. What’s scattered beyond, in songs long completed and many more yet to come, is a promise of more circles, more unique perspectives on hard lessons learned and too soon forgotten.
 
This is just the first you’ve heard from Jade Jackson. So much more lies ahead, for her and for us.