Video Premiere: Trouble from Jackson Melnick

Colorado’s Jackson Melnick is preparing to release his debut album in September, Abilene, a collection of his songs set to bluegrass instrumentation with producer Christopher Henry. It contains an interesting mix of folk and bluegrass, with Dylan-esque songs supported by banjos, fiddles, and mandolins provided by Jason Carter, Matt Combs, Alex Leach, Tuck Tucker, and Cory Walker.

A debut single hits tomorrow, Trouble, Melnick’s ode to the plight of family farmers, especially as set against large corporate farming corporations with their ability to steer government regulations in their favor. 

Jackson has thought deeply about these concerns, based on his own experiences while studying in college, where he saw the devastation wrought on farm families in central and eastern California by bureaucrats living in the population centers along the coast.

“I was reading about the plight of suicides among farmers in America. They have a suicide rate that is more than three times that of the general population. I have friends who are farmers, and I wanted to write a song for them. Farmers are isolated in part because people who aren’t farmers, aren’t curious about farmers, their lives, or the source of the food they eat. Farmers are often made into others and seen as being backwards. This is especially true for people who grow wheat, corn, soybeans – as opposed to produce. When I wrote the song, it was sort of set in Eastern California, where I lived on a ranch and college called Deep Springs as a student for a couple of years, and really became curious about ranch and farm life. What I have come to find is riddled with tragedies. The music video for the song is it: we see someone digging a hole and burying themselves alive in it.

Have a watch and listen…

Trouble will be available on Friday, June 18, wherever you stream or download music online. Pre-orders for the full Abilene album can be placed now from Melnick’s bandcamp page on either CD or vinyl.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.