B I O G R A P H Y:
"The concept of rebellion has been hijacked.
to be the most rebellious we can be,
we rebel against the darkness.
To live in love and compassion is the greatest rebellion of all."
- Jonathan Jackson
lead singer/songwriter, Jonathan Jackson + Enation
'The first thing people ask us if they've never heard us before is who do you sound like? Well, we like to say that it's as if U2, Radiohead, and Bob Dylan all got together for breakfast, decided to adopt a baby boy, called it Jonathan Jackson + Enation, and then left it to fend for itself,' drummer Richard Lee Jackson says.
Jonathan Jackson, lead singer, songwriter, guitars and piano player for the band, speaks up. 'Bands like Coldplay, U2, and Pearl Jam are great examples of artists who are dedicated to their craft but who also see their music as a vehicle for emotional and social change. In short, they are bands who have inspired us to go beneath the surface, to create songs that are not just for entertainment -- but for emotional and spiritual connection, enlightenment, and social change.'
'It's all about having integrity as an artist,' says bassist Daniel Sweatt. 'There are a lot of bands out there who are okay dwelling on the surface of things -- which is totally fine for them, and there's some good music out there doing that. But surface is not us. We're looking to go deeper, to have music that's beneath the surface.'
Jonathan Jackson + Enation are an anthemic American rock band with a Euro/Rock flare which CDBaby calls ‘One of indie’s premier rock bands’. Since their first album release in 2004 their music has been featured on MTV.com, ‘One Tree Hill’, ‘General Hospital’, and other soundtracks.
Jonathan Jackson is also a five-time Emmy Award winning actor who can currently be seen on the ABC primetime drama ‘Nashville’. Jonathan plays Avery Barkley, an up and coming singer-songwriter trying to make it in Music City.
'Nashville' co-stars Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere. The drama centers around the inner workings of the music industry in Music City. USA TODAY and Entertainment Weekly named 'Nashville' the #1 Best New show of the Fall Season. Since it's premier seen by nearly 10 million viewers, 'Nashville' has become one of the most talked about new shows, and has been picked up by ABC for season two.
Jonathan has released singles from 'Nashville' -- 'Twist of Barbwire', 'Kiss' and his original anthem, 'The Morning of the Rain' -- each one produced by Grammy and Oscar winning producer T-Bone Burnett. The 'Nashville' season one soundtrack is a hit record across America.
Jonathan Jackson + Enation came onto the music scene late 2004, the year they released their first album, “Identity Theft”. The band immediately had their music featured on MTV.com and the film ‘Stephen King’s Riding The Bullet’. Since that time they have sold over 200,000 songs, and have been featured on 'One Tree Hill', ‘General Hospital’, A&E’s ‘Dog The Bounty Hunter’ and a host of other soundtracks. Their song ‘Feel This (feat. Enation)’ went Top 10 on the iTunes Rock Charts (#8). Their EP, ‘The Madness Of Love’ held 5 of the Top 10 songs on the National CDBaby Rock Charts––and their single ‘Glorious’ was the #1 song for 4 + weeks across all genres on CDBaby, the largest distributor of independent music in the world. They were nominated to the prestigious New Music Seminar’s Top 100 ‘Artists on the Verge’ list which noted, “These are the artists in America most ready to break...” The band also won the Grand Prize four times on the MTV sponsored international song competition, OurStage, a website that boasts over 4 million registered fans.
Jonathan Jackson + Enation won a national competition sponsored by AOL.com from the new social media splash page web company About.Me. Over 50,000 entries were voted on by the national public to choose the Top 20 pages. Next, a panel from About.Me/AOL chose the top 10, and then finally awarded their top three pages as the grand prize winners.
The band won the grand prize––including being featured on a NY Times Square billboard for a month in downtown Manhattan, an invitation to attend About.Me’s special event in New York City and free national exposure as one of the three ‘faces’ of the About.Me campaign throughout the year.
Their album, ‘My Ancient Rebellion’ was released just three days after their About.Me NY Times Billboard went up. The album debuted #113 on the national iTunes Alternative charts, next to bands such as Coldplay, Kings of Leon, Muse, Radiohead, and the Black Keys -- quite a feat for an indie rock band who up until that point had done everything on their own.
Jonathan Jackson + Enation also partner with the charities The Syria Project, an organization helping to bring aid to Syrian refugees caught in the middle of their bloody Civil War, and the anti-human trafficking organization NOT FOR SALE, which helps bring awareness to combat the growing global atrocity of modern-day slavery.
They have been compared in reviews to the likes of Coldplay, Radiohead, U2, and Snow Patrol. Enation describes their music as Indie-Euro-Alternative-Folk-Rock, but you'll find their music under the elusive 'Alternative' genre in iTunes.
CDBaby, the largest distributor of independent music online in the world, took notice that the band is "Fast becoming known as one of the best epic rock bands around," and recently also declared that they are 'one indie's premier rock bands.'
B E H I N D T H E M U S I C :
It would be easy to assume with Jonathan's mark as a successful actor that his music came about as a natural, albeit secondary, passion within his artistic expressions. But that is not the case. In fact, Jonathan was learning to play guitar at age eight and recording music demos with his country music singing father Ricky Lee Jackson years before he ever ventured into the unknown realm of Hollywood.
'My earliest memories of music are performing country music concerts with my Dad,' Jonathan remembers. 'He would perform country classics and modern hits in our hometown venues, and he'd invite our whole family to be a part of the show. Around that time, when I was about eight, my uncle began to teach me how to play guitar, and (my brother) Richard had been playing drums since he was in the first grade. So music has always been a big part of our lives. Seeing my Dad perform Elvis' 'Old Kentucky Rain' live at Graceland on stage during the 15th anniversary of Elvis' death, is a memory that has stayed with me my whole life.'
The foundations of Jonathan Jackson + Enation started with brothers Jonathan and Richard Lee Jackson. Having been raised in Battle Ground, WA (just north of Portland, OR) they gave up the verdant fields and continuous rainfall of the Pacific Northwest for the concrete jungle and blazing sun of Hollywood, CA to pursue careers as actors at the ripe ages of 10 and 13. Richard had played drums since he was in elementary school and Jonathan took up playing guitar a few years after him, being the younger brother. Sibling rivalry (at a young age) turned into a synergy of complimentary gifting as the brothers began to play music together over the ensuing years. It was as if Providence had smiled on them––they discovered that drums and guitar sound rather nice together. Jonathan as the guitarist naturally began to write songs and sing, with Richard laying down the beat with splashes of backing vocals. The first inklings of the band were in the works.
Over the next several years the brothers migrated up and down the West Coast, flying from California to Washington, with frequent stops in Portland and visits to Seattle. At the age of just 14 Jonathan was fronting at the famous Whisky A Go-Go with Richard on the drums under the name ‘Scarlet Road’. Club gigs continued, although they were both too young to enjoy the complimentary alcohol offered to them.
Their in-depth exposure to the film and television industry as actors from a young age gave the brothers a keen sense of cinematic expression, the importance of spontaneity, genuine emotion, and vulnerability as artists––an influence they carry with them in their matured music today.
Coinciding with these inspirations came U2’s ‘Zoo TV’ tour. With its radical, outrageous, mind-blowingly anthemic songs and charades, Jonathan and Richard’s imagination took flight to a whole new level. That concert and tour was a pivotal moment for their creative canvas––for the first time they saw what limitless possibilities in music looked like. Add to the mix Peter Gabriel’s ‘Secret World Live’ and ‘Growing Up’ tours and the bar for musical, emotional, and spiritual expression through music had officially been raised for the aspiring musicians. A new vision was beginning to form, one that set its sights on music as calling, as much as vocation.
Jonathan Jackson + Enation formed through friendship and playing gigs together over the course of a couple years. Jonathan, as the songwriter, guitar player, piano player and lead vocalist, has been influenced by a number of artists; most prevalently, Bono and the Edge from U2, Bob Dylan, Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins, and Leonard Cohen. An odd blend, some might say. But the restlessness and searching in each of his mentors, give insight into Jonathan’s own hunger for purpose and higher calling. Jonathan brings a rare combination as a frontman––the ability to convey an array of emotions vocally that could make Bono proud, while at the same time play guitar riffs that reach for the heights of The Edge. Lyricists the likes of Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, and Leonard Cohen round out the influences that give singer/songwriter Jackson, and consequently the band who boasts his name, the cocktail that seamlessly blends sonic anthems with insightful, lyrically driven emotional anthems.
Drummer Richard Lee’s influences began when he was young with the love-drenched, insanely reverb laden snare back beats of Chicago. As he grew older, his musical tastes developed into a love for the heart-pounding war-like pulsing of Larry Mullen, Jr. of U2, the anthemic inspirations of Stewart Smith from the British band, Delirious?, as well as the formidable passion of Marcus Dahlstrøm from the Swedish-Metal band Blindside. The combination gives Jonathan Jackson + Enation a fresh energy and anthemic backbeat that holds the songs together.
In the earliest formation, bassist Daniel Sweatt played guitar, while Amber Sweeney played bass. After about a year Amber decided to pursue her own music career (Amber has since become a beautifully soulful solo artist). With the band in need of a bass player, Daniel Sweatt moved from rhythm guitar to bass. Daniel’s instincts as a guitar player were a benefit for the band; he brings a musical quality to his bass playing that is as much based on melody as it is low end punches.
For several years the band also included Michael and Luke Galeotti as members (keys and rhythm guitar, respectively), but after several years the band parted ways with them, citing creative differences.
The founding members of the band, the brothers Jackson and Daniel Sweatt, inhabit Jonathan Jackson + Enation as a tour-de-force three piece. They continue to create music that has given them the reviews and reputation as being one of the premier indie bands in America.
THE MUSICAL ROOTS
The roots of Jonathan Jackson + Enation’s musical influences stem from each band member’s own history and preferences; Jonathan and Richard gravitated early to the anthemic, emotional, and spiritual qualities heard in the likes of U2, Peter Gabriel, and Radiohead. Both the Jackson brothers and Daniel Sweatt formed much of their musical skeleton from the largely alternative rock landscape of the early-to-late 90’s as well, from such bands as Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, as well as later influences ranging from anthem-rockers Switchfoot to metal icons POD. Currently, the band lists a handful of other key influences, citing many European bands such as Coldplay, The Frames, and Snow Patrol.
Jonathan Jackson + Enation create music that is beneath the surface. With a beautifully complex and emotional catalogue of music that has earned them the reputation as one of the premier independent rock bands in America, they continue to stake new ground in a world that holds endless possibilities for them.
"Fast becoming recognized as ONE OF THE BEST EPIC ROCK BANDS AROUND, the group combines expensive jams with honest, soulful lyricism." ~ CD BABY / Notable Artist, Newsletter
"These are the artists in America most ready to break... The New Music Seminar recognizes these 100 Artists On the Verge as the strongest among the hundreds of thousands of artists in the field."
~ New Music Seminar / Top 100 "Artists On The Verge"
“Emotional Rock, enveloped by a sensible and captivating voice... could be a mix between Radiohead and U2. Contagious and fascinating, able to touch anyone… becoming one of the most elegant formations of American Rock, with European-style...”
“Much of (the album) is driven by echo-laden guitars... splashes of piano... and an arena-rock backbeat that holds it all together. The heartthrob’s rock star skills borrow from the book of Bono, with vocals that range from breathy whispers to an overdriven falsetto that hits with all the impact of a raw nerve. The group’s lyrics suggest a tantalizing spirituality, hinting at a deeper faith that’s never made explicit. Much like U2, there’s a scriptural tone to many of (the) lyrics—but it never gets heavy enough to turn off secular fans.”
"Contains masterfully written songs. Frontman Jonathan has an exceptional quality in his soft vocals... whispering Fatherly advice like a lullaby. Beautiful piano accompaniment...”
~ RADIOINDY / Enation won a GrIndie Award for their album "Soul & Story: Volume One", an indie artist awards coinciding with the Grammy’s
“(They)… have burst on the scene... The vocals sound like a cross between David Gray and Augustana which is a perfect soothing blend... The songs are rich in symbolism... I highly recommend this album to anyone who enjoys Augustana... or Snow Patrol.”
"...their footprint as an independent band has a national, if not international, imprint... The band has been compared to the likes of Radiohead, Coldplay, Snow Patrol, and U2. Much like the bands they are compared to, (their) audiences seem to be left breathless by the passion and power of their live concert experience."
“(They) work magic… that lets all the raw-nerve intensity of frontman Jonathan Jackson's songwriting bleed out… he'll make you a believer.” ~ SOAPCASTS.com
“Earnest, U2-inspired rock…”
~ THE COLUMBIAN NEWSPAPER
“Compared to the likes of Radiohead and U2…”
~ CBS affiliate station / KATU BROADCAST
“(Jonathan Jackson and Enation) is quickly becoming known as one of the best independent bands on the music scene today.”
"A rock band with a bright future... (Listen to the) strong vocals and thoughtful lyrics... and you’ll understand why it’s always at the top of the charts."
~ OurStage.com / Enation is a four-time Grand Prize Winner on this MTV Sponsored International Indie Song Competition
"Jonathan creates a glimmer of positivity that bursts through the darkest days and elegantly screams, ‘You’re not alone. You can do anything to which you set your mind. You will not only survive your struggles, you’re going to emerge a better person.’
Legions of fans have latched onto and propelled Jonathan and Enation to the forefront of the independent rock world."