Rod Jackson & The Perfect Strangers keep the heart and soul of country alive with their new album Unfinished Business
Where have all the country heroes gone? Replaced by backing tracks, rap interludes and diddies about pickup truck parties with Bud Light under the western stars, we’d expect.
Yes, country music, for better or worse, has come a long way from the Outlaw Days of Cash, Nelson and Jennings. Thank the six-string gods we have Rod Jackson & The Perfect Strangers to set us all straight.
Having recently released the appropriately titled album Unfinished Business and having wrapped the homage tour Honky Tonk Heroes, Grand Falls-Windsor native by way of Paradise Rod Jackson is soaking up every ounce of his second foray into the world of a musician.
“I got away from the music business for about 10 years,” Jackson tells The Herald. “My daughter was very young and I decided to start my own business. The music, it lost its fun for me about 10 years ago. You know taking a band on the road is not always a fun thing. So I decided to start my advertising business and raise my daughter. Her mom was working all the time so I wanted to be there. I was tired of being away and being on the road and not seeing her grow up, so I put everything on hold. I said you know what, I’m coming back, I don’t know when. My daughter now is three credits shy of her university degree and I’m so proud of her. And it was the right time.”
Country music heaven
Jackson and his Perfect Strangers are a match made in country music heaven – the perfect blend of craftsmanship with a retro feel that perfectly marries with the modern day. Made up of Jackson, Doug Randell, Stephen Green, Curt Penney, Todd Randell, Luke Welsh, Jenny Mallard and Perry Nash, the eight member ensemble collectively hold 80 years of experience in the music business. And the band is a cohesive democracy, not a dictatorship.
“Right now we’re having the time of our lives,” Jackson admits. “We’ve got people really committed to what we’re trying to accomplish which is continuing to grow our brand which is Rod Jackson & The Perfect Strangers. It’s not just me anymore. We’re all on an equal footing. My name is on the front of it but we all are dedicated to what we’re doing which is the sound.”
Unfinished Business is Jackson’s first album since his decade-long hiatus. It’s a prophetic title for the man that has performed alongside the likes of Toby Keith, The Tragically Hip, Tom Cochrane and Nelly Furtado.
“The cd is called Unfinished Business which means that in my heart for 10 years I knew there was unfinished business left in my life in terms of music,” he explains.
“I had a lot of fun doing that but it just got to a point in my career when you got a house and two kids, one older son that lives in Halifax and he’s married and got children himself now. But I just took a step back and said you know what if it’s not fun then I’m not going to do it.”
Fun is the name of the game now for Jackson & The Perfect Strangers. The performances are nuanced, with rich harmonies and full band participation, not to mention the time dedicated to video add ons and a fully immersive fan experience.
“We want people to come and enjoy the professionalism,” Jackson says. “We have a full show, video show behind us. Every song has a moving video. So you know people come to our show and get something different. We don’t slap a show together. We’ve been practicing and we’ve either been in the studio recording or practicing this show since January and we take it extremely seriously. Harmonies, we spent so much time on harmonies. We’ve got eight singers in the band and at different points seven of those people, with the exception of the drummer, actually come up to the front of the stage and do a song. So we offer elements that nobody’s getting right now in Newfoundland.”
More videos are on-tap for singles from Unfinished Business for the band. Round two of the groups Christmas in the Country tour is being prepped for this winter, with an accompanying cd, Jackson shares.
But for a man who put family first, Rod Jackson is reaping of the rewards of doing things on his own terms, at the right time with the right people.
“We’re all having fun. You know our listeners and our people that come to see us are enjoying what we’re doing so we’re quite happy to keep going with it.”
For more on Rod Jackson & The Perfect Strangers visit the bands official social medias. Unfinished Business is availab