JacksonVegas – Someday is as Good as Any Day
Early this year, Grant Nielson aka Dr. Concussion, a Jacksonville, FL hip hop/funk artist, released his latest EP, Someday is as Good as Any Day, with his group JacksonVegas. Branching off from his Dr. Concussion roots, Nielson is finally displaying his secret catalog of American/country/folk tunes in what he believes to be the “last opportunity for renaissance in Jacksonville” in his lifetime. JacksonVegas attempts to take advantage of this moment by creating an EP of sentimental songs with a particular southern rock twang that will either turn you on or drive you off.
The album’s first track, “Chip Away” summons nostalgic feelings of the late 1990s early 2000s alt-rock scene with Nielson sounding a little too like Chad Kroeger for my comfort. (John Citrone from Folio Weekly said it first!) Overall, it is not a bad song and acts as a great introduction for what is to follow afterward.
I found the best track on Someday is as Good as Any Day to be the single track “Within Your Skin” which is a folksy-indie piece entwined with melancholy violin and slide guitar that give it a slight, but not overbearing, old time country appeal. It could sit comfortably on an album alongside tracks by groups like Iron & Wine or Calexico. With Nielson’s stirring lyrics and catchy melody lay-out it could be a radio-ready hit with a little fine tuning.
“Only Your Soul” and “Now That’s My Home” have enough twang to wind up on CMT with the former being a subdued, pop ballad that is actually pretty cute with its tender lyrics and haunting background vocals. The latter of the two epitomizes country stadium rock somewhere along the lines of Big & Rich of “Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy” fame mixed with a little ZZ Top. “Now That’s My Home” busts a good-old-fashioned electric guitar hoedown to close the song and finish off the EP.
I can see how JacksonVegas could draw an enthusiastic crowd of fans at a downtown Jacksonville bar; they are engaging, dynamic, and sensitive. Though, in my opinion, in order for them to branch out from a local cult following, Nielson is going to need to polish his lyrics for a more mature audience. But still, please give it a listen. Whether you are turned on or driven off, this is an early release from JacksonVegas and after our front man Nielson really gets his footing in this atypical country/indie-rock genre, I hope he will achieve the Jacksonville renaissance he has been anticipating.
WORDKRAPHT Rating: 2 Stars
Album Name: JacksonVegas
Date Released: January, 2015
Genre: Alternative Rock, Folk, Americana, Country
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Band Members: Grant Nielson, Bea Gayle, Cyrus Quaranta, Ernie Douglass, John Parkerurban, Juanita Parkerurban, Myrna Stallworth, and Crickit Balsamo