After being baptised by John the Baptist, Jesus went to the wilderness to fast and pray.
For forty days and forty nights he denied himself food.
His body grew weak.
As he did so he was confronted by Satan who attempted to use his weakness to tempt the Son of God to err from that which he knew was His destiny.
Jesus stood firm.
His mental, emotional and spiritual resolve stayed strong even when his body was broken.
So the story goes.
And so we find ourselves with another J.
A 27 year old woman from Santa Margarita, California.
As a child Jade learned to play guitar and started to write songs from an early age, by the time she was thirteen she had hundreds of them. It seemed fairly obvious that she was going to become a musician. She waited tables in her parents restaurant, The Range, while she continued to work to make her dream a reality.
Then, shortly after her 20th birthday and with her hopes and dreams within touching distance…she fell fifteen feet from a rope swing, broke her neck and was told that there was a good chance she would never walk again.
A freak accident had plunged her into the wilderness.
Her body broken.
Her mind fractured, depression arrived and an eating disorder…fasting in order to gain back some sort of control over a life that had promised so much but that now seemed, hopeless.
The temptation at that point is to give in.
To lay down in the dirt and not get back up.
To let your personal adversary tempt you into accepting your new reality.
Time to surrender.
But not for Jade.
Seeking out hope in the darkest corners of her mind.
Finding reasons to be grateful.
She was born again.
Now following her 2017 debut album “Gilded” she returns with her sophomore album “Wilderness” which looks set to confirm her status as one of the very finest singer-songwriters to emerge in many, many years. Blending country-rock with pop melodies and, at times, gothic sentiment this is an album that defies categorisation…this is one of those oh so rare moments when the music matters more than the label you attach to it.
Jackson has a voice that is soulful, sweet, soaring and spellbinding. She shares a label with gospel and soul legend Mavis Staples and that seems like a really good place for her to be…alongside another voice that could cut through genres and burst out of boxes to be, defiantly, unique. At times on “Wilderness” she allows the voice to break, to reveal something of the pain, the hurt and the trauma that she is singing about, happy to allow purity and emotion to take centre stage.
“The message of Wilderness is in how to get through all those tough situations—if you visualize yourself somewhere, all that good energy and intention can get you where you want to be”
That sense of the importance of hope, of the need to fight for the things we want most runs through many of the songs on “Wilderness”, even those moments where the mood is reflective, sombre, filled with hurt are elevated by that principle. You can feel that in every riff, every line, every note and every breath on this album. “Is my heart worth fighting for?” sings Jackson on “Loneliness” and despite the aching tone of the song you cannot help but feel…yes, yes my heart is worth fighting for.
From the “Wilderness” comes salvation.
“Wilderness” is available now on ANTI Records and from the usual streaming services.