Country Jukebox Jury EPs: Priscilla Block and Jackson Dean

Priscilla Block EP

Priscilla has been plugging away for years – she put out an EP in 2017 – but the pair of PMS and Thick Thighs (‘extra fries over exercise’) are 100% Lizzo and 100% Meghan Trainor. The heartache ballad Just About Over You was the song that got her a record deal with Mercury Nashville and she includes it with five more tracks on a self-titled EP. The second single was I Bet You Wanna Know, where Priscilla asks why her ex wants her back: she’s not telling.

Wish You Were The Whiskey is pop-rock rather than country, and it’s a song that reminds me of 200 other songs which compare people to drinks. It sounds an awful lot like Just About Over You, while Heels In Hand thunders with drums and guitars which made Taylor Swift a megastar in 2008. Bad Part of Good is about the conflict between moving on and a one-night stand (or the last kisses of a relationship that has burned out), set to a musical backing that is almost identical to Just About Over You and Heels In Hand. No need to change the formula when it got you a record deal.

Sad Girls Do Sad Things sees Priscilla going death metal…Nope, it’s an acoustic ballad centring on the line ‘this ain’t who I wanna be’. The EP seems targeted at young women between 18 and 34 who have been dumped. I hope Priscilla makes some money. In Nashville, it is the song that matters but will people still be singing Just About Over You in 2030?

Jackson Dean EP

The day that Big Machine pushed out the first part of Thomas Rhett’s new project, Maryland’s Jackson Dean (NOT the TikTok star of the same name!) has released a self-titled five-song EP produced by Eric Church’s pal Luke Dick, who is a hard rocker with a notable influence on country. The cover of the EP makes me think of Johnnie Jackson’s character in the TV show Nashville, whose name I almost had to look up: Avery Barkley.

With the music, I expected rockin’ guitars and bluesy wails. On the former, I wasn’t let down by Don’t Come Lookin, a song about getting on the road. Fearless showcases the latter in the form of a song of fidelity (‘you’re holding all the keys’). Love You Anymore foregrounds the vocal while Jackson tries to ‘get the taste of you out of my mouth’ over some electric guitar. If anything, it is understated.

Don’t Take Much adds some banjo and handclaps to a lyric about trees and sunshine and ‘liquor in my coffee cup’ because ‘it don’t take much to have it all’. It’s the type of country song Justin Moore is doing with his song We Didn’t Have Much but this feels more real and earthy, more rural and not ‘city boy singing about how he used to be country’. Wings, with its dropped guitar tuning, sounds like a Luke Dick song from the first bar: yearning, mention of angels, a drum sound like a desert wind, freedom, memories, a whammy-bar guitar line, almost a sample of Tin Man by Miranda Lambert. It’s a winner.

Kudos to Big Machine for finding a great voice, as they’ve done with Heath Sanders, to funnel some of the Thomas Rhett money into. I never thought I’d see Luke Dick take some of that money; he is best known for working with Eric Church and Miranda Lambert. He once made a movie about growing up in a strip club! Fellow Marylanders Brothers Osborne are kinfolk.

Scott Borchetta does it again. Again. I hope people don’t miss this one.

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