California singer-songwriter Jade Jackson relished the full-circle element of her set at Stagecoach that opened an exceptionally strong alt-country lineup Saturday on the Palomino stage, which also plays host to critically acclaimed artists including Brandy Clark, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit and Dwight Yoakam.
Jackson noted that 10 years ago, when she was 16, the native of Central California's Santa Margarita opened for Yoakam, and now a decade later she's back on the same stage that he's scheduled to play tonight.
Her set drew generously rom her 2017 album "Gilded," produced by Social Distortion lead singer and chief songwriter Mike Ness. Beyond the taut, twangy roots-country sound she and her band conjured, and her own lightly smoked vocals, the core of her set emanated from her remarkable songwriting.
Songs such as "Finish Line," "Bottle It Up" and "Troubled End" demonstrate a strikingly perceptive artist at work, one who rejects the cliches that often pass for insight in today's mainstream country.
"He swung a stranger round the ballroom floor / With every dangerous move, she craved more," Jackson sang in the opening couplet of "Troubled End," instantly hooking a listener with a compact scene setter that suggests a world of possibility in what is about to unfold.
The best news, she said just after coming off stage, is that she'snow at work in a follow-up to "Gilded," with Ness again producing.
"He's such a good coach," she told The Times. "We found we both had this love for people like Hank Williams and Johnny Cash, and that's lurking there for both of us under the surface."
Follow @RandyLewis2 on Twitter.com