Jackdawg- Jackdawg

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chances are if you are a big fan of either Doobie Brothers or Creedence Clearwater Revival, the name Jackdawg may ring a few bells in your head. You see, Jackdawg was formed by Keith Knudsen and John McFee of Doobie Brothers and Stu Cook from Creedence Clearwater Revival in the late 80’s. The trio would go on to record quite a bit of material throughout the late 80’s and early 90’s, but it has taken a good twenty years or so for the album to see the light of day. Unfortunately Knudsen would pass away before Jackdawg’s release would make it into the hands of fans everywhere, but it could now serve as a fitting tribute to him. Though the material on this release may date back 20-25 years, it still offers catchy songs that listeners are sure to enjoy.

Listeners will be pleasantly surprised by the instrumentals on this album as although they have pulled elements from CCR and Doobie Brothers, Jackdawg still feels unique and it is clear that neither of the three members wanted to simply rehash the other bands that they had been involved in. The best way to describe the instrumentals on this album would be as a mix of blues/country rock, 80’s/early 90’s pop rock, and early hard rock/hair metal. But despite the fact that it was recorded many years ago, the songs on this release don’t feel dated at all and are sure to introduce a new generation of listeners to these talented musicians.

Lead vocalist John McFee has a very light voice, which is sure to add to the pop/rock vibe that the instrumentals establish. At times McFee’s style is a bit similar to classic bands of this era such as Night Ranger, so younger and older listeners alike who enjoyed acts of that style will definitely find that Jackdawg’s release offers a sense of nostalgia while still offering some fresh ideas as well. But while McFee could have easily stood out by himself, it was decided when the band recorded this album that they would utilize all three members as vocalists, which gives many of these songs great melodic harmonies and a very full sound.

“Lost” side projects like this sometimes turn out to be not worth digging up, but this is not the case with Jackdawg. It seems that when each of the three members decided to give this project a thought, they really put the time needed to ensure that each of the songs on the album were memorable and would stand out even decades after their conception. I’m not entirely sure why it took so long for this material to come out, but I’m glad that it finally did.


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