In a world of passing trends and ever-changing ideals it is difficult not to get swept up by the allure of pop-culture and public opinion. Fortunately for us, Spectra Music Group recording artist Brickwall Jackson is showing everyone how easy it is to stick to their roots, all while having a bit of fun with it in their latest release, Stickin’ To It. Based out of Richmond Virginia, Brickwall Jackson is an alternative country group with a heavy influence of Americana, which saw the release of their debut album Just Life back in 2012. Having grown immensely from their inaugural album Brickwall Jackson elevates their sound with a variety of different styles in their latest release. Although innovative in their approach, Brickwall Jackson remains steadfast in their motif of traditional values and honest living. Conveyed through themes familiar to most, Stickin’ To It touches upon social structures and sobering realities in addition to providing many light-hearted tracks with slap-happy lyrics, some more obscene than others.
Stickin’ To It opens up with the aptly named track “Begin,” a piece which encompasses the pride of a family man and the labors they endure to provide. The cheerful melody is steeped in modern country western influence, the type of song that makes you dream of summer barbecues and good times with the ones you love. This sound is familiar to Brickwall Jackson and is employed beautifully on many tracks throughout the album. A wholesome message, told through a vibrant American soul, establishes an instant classic, one of many on their latest offering.
The pinnacle of Stickin’ To It comes by way of “Gun Truck,” a bustling song with crushing guitars and a boiling sense of malice. This track steps away from the feel-good country and impassioned ballots of the rest of the album to deliver a hard-hitting rock piece with aggressive vocals and a sinister appeal. This track gives listeners the opportunity to indulge in a Brickwall Jackson of a heavier nature, one that sees the stellar scream of John Hudak with the brooding lyrics of “if you get in my way I’ll cut you in two…This gun truck is coming, coming for you!” The dynamic tone this song brings to the album, especially as it falls at the midpoint of the track list, reveals the diverse sound Brickwall Jackson is capable of achieving, thus engaging an audience across a broad spectrum. It is also telling of Brickwall Jackson’s creative process, which does not seem limited to a single genre.
Aside from varying musical styles Brickwall Jackson also incorporates a rotation on the mic. While most tracks are helmed by John Hudak, the album would be nowhere as electrifying without the radiant voice of Suzie “Mojo” Johnson. Providing stellar harmonization throughout, Johnson’s pristine range compliments Hudak’s southern twang. Stealing the spotlight for the monumental track “Love Anymore,” Johnson provides an intimate touch to this album, a slow burn for heavy hearts. Moving in its message for unity through a breathtaking serenade “Love Anymore” is a deep cut with an overwhelming amount of emotion and strikes a balanced tone for an otherwise up-beat and empowering record.
The album rounds out with two live tracks, those being “Gun Truck” and “Tore Up”, which were performed at Red Amp Audio in Richmond Virginia. Not only are these iterations putting a fresh spin on the studio cuts heard on the album while giving a little love to the hometown scene, but also gives their listeners a taste of what to expect of their live performances. Their gusto can be felt through the wild energy of the tracks and does not diminish the amazing tone of the band that listeners have enjoyed from their studio releases. It proves that Brickwall Jackson doesn’t fluff the brilliance of their sound, setting a high expectation for an incredible live set.
With the bar now officially raised, Stickin’ To It sets a new precedent for what Brickwall Jackson can accomplish with their unique sound all while not losing the identity of the band itself. Presenting a new level of excellence with the same authentic message shows that change does not mean an abandonment of what has come before it but by building upon it to make it something greater. Brickwall Jackson reaches to new heights while keeping their feet on the ground, offering a final product that should appease fans of both the old and the new.
Reviewed by Dylan Borsos