ALBUM PREMIERE: David Jameson Shows Lyrical Wisdom and Expansive Approach to Country Music on ‘Tall Dark Pines’

A new face on the scene, David Jameson explores outlaw country themes of the old west through a modern lens shaped by his global travels and family traditions. Jameson took a circuitous route to country music. His music career started on the other side of the globe when he was living in China. After his performances at local pubs drew attention, he began performing in Mandarin on TV shows including on national Chinese singing competitions similar to American Idol.

After college, David’s wanderlust persisted, and he found his way to posts across Texas, The United States, and the world. As a consultant with the international management consulting firm McKinsey, he moved to Malaysia and spent time working and immersing himself in local cultures and languages across South East Asia, Latin America, and Europe. After finishing the Schwarzman Scholars Master’s program in Beijing, David found a job that enabled him to return to Houston, Texas, his home base in the United States.

With his first studio recording, 25 to Life, Jameson has already attracted interest from fans and musicians alike. W.B. Walker, Ameripolitan DJ of The Year 2018, cut straight to the point calling Jameson’s music “Damn good.” One critic compared David Jameson’s sound to the Irish Whiskey of the same name saying the music has a “warm, golden honey hue…gushing with quality and truth.” David has been building his music chops sharing bills with Drayton Farley, Cole Chaney, Joshua Ray Walker, and Logan Halstead, and over the next few months he will release a broad collection of songs recorded with Producer Duane Lundy.

David Jameson’s songs mirror his life, marked by vivid imagery and the American folk tradition of narrative storytelling. The stories featured on his upcoming album are closer to home than most of his adventures. Many of the songs feature tales of his family and his community that were passed onto David when he moved back to his hometown during the Covid-19 pandemic. David brings these modern stories to life by incorporating elements of traditional American country and folk ballads of the 19th and early 20th centuries as well as ballads of the British Isles that date back even further. This approach inspired Americana Highways to call David “a master writer and storyteller, propelling a significant folk tradition into the modern era.”

“I’ve spent the better part of the last decade outside of the United States. I went abroad because I was interested in immersing myself in foreign cultures, learning the language, and assimilating as best as I could. GIven my time abroad, people are often confused as to why I play country music, but when you dig into the origins of country, it has very diverse roots. Country music blends the cowboy culture of Spanish and Mexican origin with the Blues of African Americans in the Mississippi river delta, and the old time traditions of Appalachia and the British Isles. One of the most iconic country instruments, the banjo, actually comes from West Africa. Even today, the genre continues to be diverse, for example the country music out of West Virginia is quite different from what you hear down in Texas. I love exploring and learning about all the cultures that formed country music as well as those that continue to shape the country music scene,” says David.

While David’s new album Tall Dark Pines is officially releasing on January 27th, Glide is excited to offer an exclusive early listen. The albums carries a distinctly Western sound and there is plenty of lyrical imagery of sparse, expansive landscape and forgotten times to soak up throughout the album. While it’s tempting to lazily classify his music as Americana, the songs on Tall Dark Pines take a more complex approach to interpreting the canon of American music as a whole. We hear elements of cowboy country, Appalachian folk, bluegrass, singer-songwriter, and alt-country. Through it all, David delivers vivid lyrical tales with a smooth croon. Ultimately, this is an impressive album from a young troubadour who is wise beyond his years.

David describes the meaning and inspiration behind Tall Dark Pines:

“This is a ‘noir record.’ The album illustrates the darker side of the human experience and leaves the listener to judge the choices of each character. The songs tell tales of outlaws, losing or leaving loved ones, addiction, and murder. In some way, each of these songs presents a situation that goes against the expectations and moral code of society, religion, or the law, but just like in life, it’s not always easy to separate good from evil. One of the darkest songs on the reocrd, Tall Dark Pines is a murder ballad that highlights the thoughts and actions of a spurned lover who breaks the law because his lover “broke the laws of man” and God. Both East of Eden and One Last Lullaby later explore the thoughts of a murderer like the one in Tall Dark Pines after they commit the deed. On the lighter and more upbeat side, Gone like the Wind is about a lover who feels lonely and emotionally abandoned in a relationship and decides to leave their lover without notice, and Ballin’ the Jack tells the story of a truck running out of control as an allegory for wrestling with addiction.

“I wrote most of this album at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic so it incorporates some of the negative energy that everybody was feeling. Each song draws on a story that I lived or observed in my community and family. One of the major musical inspirations was Marty Robbins because in the year prior to writing the album my grandfather and I discovered our mutual love of traditional country music especially Gunfighter Ballads by Marty Robbins. He passed away before I started crafting the record so in his memory I drew inspiration from Gunfighter Ballads. It’s most apparent in the song Eye for an Eye which paints my grandfather as an outlaw. Other sources of inspiration include the music of Song Dong Ye and the traditional ballads collected by Alan Lomax and Francis James Child.”

Give the album a listen:

Photo by Myriam Nicodemus

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