Blues-rock artist, Jackson Price, got his start in a different form of performing arts -- acting. For 15 years, Price appeared in commercials, TV shows, and movies, though he eventually became burned out on acting. Price was always a guitarist, having learned blues licks in his youth, and soon he found himself fronting the Los Angeles-based blues band, The Mighty Mojo Prophets. Eventually, Price grew tired of Los Angeles and moved to Taos, New Mexico, forming Big Swing Theory. The group's local success prompted Price to form a side band to perform and record his original material and Jackson Price and the Blues Rockets was born. I Used To Have Fun marks the debut release for the group.
The group, which features the formidable guitar duo of Price (Who is also the vocalist) and David Chmil, also includes Colin Jenkinson on bass and Max Moulton on drums. Their aim was to harken back to the days when real bands played real instruments and got their songs on the radio and they have succeeded. With strong songwriting, often featuring witty lyrics, the group's sound recalls ZZ Top, Eric Clapton, JJ Cale, and the Allman brothers, while mixing in a heavy dose of the British blues revival of the late 1960s.
The album leads off with "Threshold," an up-tempo song that features some tasty guitar licks and some amusing lyrics about a guy who is tired of the way his lady has been acting. Price delivers a strong vocal and the song showcases a lyrical guitar solo. "Staying High" follows and it shows the band locked into a tight groove. This country-blues-inspired number has some strong slide and dobro playing and a gritty vocal from Price.
The group goes funky on "Evil By The Plenty," a song that finds the guitars doubling the horn part over a slinky rhythm track. Price and his band easily slip between multiple blues genres on this album, showing off their musicianship throughout. Price's sense of humor comes through once again on "Bald, Fat, and 45." While most artists try to act younger than their age or lament about growing old, price seems to embrace these qualities on this acoustic blues number.
On "I'm Gone" Price shows off some killer slide chops and an edgy vocal over a driving track. Jenkinson and Moulton make for a strong rhythm section, allowing Price and Chmil to shine on guitar. The group makes their ZZ Top influence known on "Message From God" and, especially "So Much Time." The former has the group in country rock territory, with Price's lyrics questioning his life choices, while the latter finds the band aping the riff from "La Grange," while adding their own bluesy touches to it.
"Thank You B.B." sees the band paying tribute to the late blues legend, B.B. King. This instrumental is a fine guitar showcase for Price and Chmil. The album ends with "Amerika," a song that shows Price celebrating the gluttonous ways Americans are so known for.
Jackson Price set out to make a real record that was a throwback to the old blues and rock musicians playing their instruments and delivering in the studio. On I Used To Have Fun, he has accomplished just that with a set of strong songs, excellent lyrics and fine musicianship. It makes one wonder why he didn't leave the acting world behind sooner.