20 July 2024
  • 20 July 2024

Jill Jackson: The Sound of Renfrewshire

on 3 July 2024 0

Fresh from releasing her latest album, Paisley’s own Jill Jackson discusses her incredible musical journey and upcoming Mill Town Festival set

You’re hot on the heels of Curse of the Damned emerging, how was the process of recording that record?

It was great. I usually record the same way in that I have a collection of songs and go in with the band. But this time, I worked with my drummer who has more edgy rock influences compared to my country sound. He came in on the production and we played the bones of the album, which was really good fun. I loved it and it’s been received so well. The songs are massively personal, so I think people seem to be connecting with them even when it feels like I was really exposing myself. 

There’s often rewards to be reaped from those songs where you lay yourself bare as throughout music history, it’s been those ones that really resonate with people.

Absolutely, I think those kind of songs are the reason for writing in the first place. That’s the advice I’d give to anyone starting out, never underestimate the power of a good song. It can change your life. 

Jill Jackson

Jill Jackson, Curse of the Damned

Who are your songwriting influences and is there someone in particular you took cues from on this album?

First and foremost, I’ll always say Dolly Parton as she’s an absolute storyteller and she’s not afraid to be authentic. Patty Griffin is another one for me, but it’s a big long list. Benny and Bjorn from ABBA too, they put out a load of bangers and we can’t forget that (laughs). 

I’m a massive fan of Brandi Carlile and I think her last few albums have sounded incredible. So, I think the biggest influences now are from a sonic point of view. Writing just kinda happens, I’ll never sit down to write one. They just cook up in my brain and when I feel they’re ready, they’re written.

You could really torment yourself and people take months but I just couldn’t do that. Obviously, there are times where you’ve written things and you realise you’ve ripped off something really famous too! 

The album features a guest appearance from a Grammy nominated icon in Ron Block (Alison Krauss, Brad Paisley, others). How did that come about?

I did a few shows with him when he was touring with Damien O’Kane and he was just really sweet. He stood every night and watched my set from the side of the stage and after we got chatting. We stayed in touch and eventually, I asked if he fancied playing on a track on the album and he said yes. There’s no ego with him at all and when I got it back, I was just amazed. 

The older generation of country are great like that. Kim Richey was always one of my heroes and now when she comes to Glasgow, she texts me to ask if I’ll go sing with her and I’m like ‘yes Kim.’ It’s amazing and I still think it’s so cool even though we’re friends now, but I still admire her so much.

As a country singer from Paisley, do you feel that growing up there fed into your music in the same vein as artists from Nashville and other hot spots for the genre? 

I’ve never exactly written a song about growing up in Foxbar, but it’s a great town and I loved growing up there. Above all, I think music was the thing that stopped me from becoming an almighty terror (laughs). My very first gig was when I was 15 and I opened for a metal band in a wee place in Paisley. To this date, it’s still one of the strangest moments of my life. But, we’ve all got to start somewhere. 

Years later, I went back to my school (Gleniffer High) to do a gig and they had a wee mini shrine so that was nice (laughs). The PE teacher was the headmaster! Never thought that would happen. 

You’re performing at the first Mill Town Festival in Paisley. Are you excited for the show and for country music to come to the town? 

My booking agent told me and I was like what? It’s so cool to play Paisley as I never get to play there. It’s been at least ten years. The festival looks amazing and I am a big Sugarland fan so to see Kristian Bush is on the bill has me very excited! It’s great for Paisley to have something like this, as it gets overlooked sometimes. So, it’s brilliant and I hope it’s successful. Seeing these American artists come there makes it clear that a lot of consideration has been put into the bill. 

Jill plays Mill Town Festival at Paisley Town Hall on Saturday 31st August, with tickets available here

Jill also plays Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock on Friday 6th September, tickets available here.

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