We gathered in the home studio of my friend, Lester Price. His sons, Jeff and Sean were at the board, and steadily setting up microphones, running cables, making things come together. The band played together, live, for two days, and the Diamond Ranch sessions came alive.

After the initial session, I asked a few friends to overdub their harmonies or instrumental parts from afar. The sonic genius, Chris Latham, stitched our performances together in Nashville, TN, and so it was.

These may be the final two tracks in my Diamond Ranch series, but the process was so fun, we’re bound to record more, once the pandemic blows over. Until then, I hope you enjoy listening to these tunes, as much as we enjoyed playing them.

– JE –

Jackson Emmer: vocals, guitars, bass, songwriting  
Lester Price: guitars  
Chris Goplerud: drums  
Mike Facey: bass  
Larry Gottlieb: steel guitars 
Letitia VanSant: harmony vocals  
Sam Moss: fiddle  
Jeff Price: recording engineer  
Sean Price: recording engineer  
Chris Latham: mixing and mastering  

Album art photo by Olive & West Photography

Hello friends,

A lot has changed since we last spoke. It’s April 12th, which means I’ve been Social Distancing/on lockdown for 32 days. It began on March 10th, just after I returned home from Austin, TX. I’d been on planes, and at several concerts, so I just assumed I had the Corona bug and kept to myself.

I’m grateful to have my wife, Olivia, and our dog, Willoughby around to keep me company. We live in a very rural area, so it’s easy for us to get outside for a walk without running into other people. This has been a blessing, and has kept us relatively sane.

For each week of lockdown/distancing, I’ve made a commitment to broadcast live, weekly performances on Facebook (Quarantunes), and to release new music every week (sometimes on YouTube, sometimes Spotify). This has been a fun challenge, and I’m enjoying the creative spark it’s lent to my isolation. Making music has always been my way of connecting with others- my way of reaching out. It seems I need it now more than ever. Thank you for listening. Stay safe, and take care of each other.

See you on the other side.

  • JE
Out for a walk on day 20 of Coronavirus lockdown. – Carbondale, CO –

My first tour was in 2009. For two weeks, I performed around New England with my friends Sam Moss and Will Stratton. Ten years later, they’re both still making music.

I posed for a photoshoot in the spring of 2019, a few months into my biggest year of touring yet. My wife, Olivia took this picture. Her photo moniker is Olive & West Photography.

I began touring 10 years ago. It was spring of 2009, and I was about to graduate from college during the peak of “The Great Recession.” There weren’t any jobs to be had anyway, so I figured I might as well play music. I pulled together my friends Sam Moss and Will Stratton, and we planned a humble tour. For two weeks at the birth of summer, we drove around New England performing in backyards, garages, art galleries, living rooms, and any place that would have us. We slept on floors, couches, and ate whatever people fed us. We had a tremendous time, seemed to make people happy, and after expenses, we each went home with $92. It seemed too good to be true.

Ten years later, things aren’t too different, but I’m even more grateful for living a life that might as well be a lucid dream. In 2019 I performed approximately 90 times. Some were gigs, some were shows, and some were on-air radio spots. I booked all of them myself, or as a collaborative effort with fellow musicians. I performed in 18 states across the US. My music was played on approximately 150 radio stations, and streamed in 36 countries, with 1,400+ listeners just on Spotify. On YouTube and Facebook combined, my songs were streamed over 22,000 times. I wrote 32 songs. These statistics aren’t staggering, but things have certainly grown over the past 10 years. 

I don’t make music so I can pour over numbers. I make music because I love the process, and feel that somehow, I have something to contribute to this artistic canon. I enjoy sharing a part of myself with listeners, and consider every tune, every note, every word an offering. When I look back at the journey and success I’ve enjoyed in 2019, one thing is clear: I owe it all to you. Without you, I’d have no one to sing for but myself. I am grateful for every moment you spent with me and my music this year, and every year. I am honored you care enough to listen, show up for a concert, and share a part of yourselves and your lives with me. Above all things, I am grateful, and cannot thank you enough. I don’t know what the next ten years has in store for us, but if it’s anything like previous decade, I’ll be pinching myself the whole way through. Thank you for everything.

Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year.

– Jackson –

In the gaping hole of timeliness,
with lavender ascent,
doth kraft cheese and dy
macaroni perfume.

WHO GOES THERE?
sex, my friend
it’s always been sex.
Rudimentary Salisburg,
changes to the machine,
withe a rama-lama gretsch guitar
filtertron daddy-o
shake for me X 1000.

I don’t want to feel
my prior ruin.
I want glitter, volume, lights.
A painless life.
Sliver of the Rocky Mountains.

Sand Flats Campground – Moab, UT. November, 2019.

1.

dust is clouding always
but it’s most visible
in the slanted sunset’s pour.

streamers of light
through pink sandy puffs,
the charcoal ghosts of 4 wheelers,
motorbike trailers, 
and gasoline enthusiasts.

under navy milk skies
pockmarks of starry freckles shine, shine, shine.
blanket of night-
split open by the cries of
distant suns.
I AM HERE! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
wimper through the
uncaring distance of space.

2.

once sexual,
the grey and twisting juniper corpse
lays indifferent by the campsite road.
dry as moonrock,
it can still be recognized
“former tree of life, child of god”
now designates parking.

the beginning of tent city,
nylon, thinsulate, marshmallow sticks
empty, green gas canisters.
tack your receipt to the post.

ranger Judy, once sexual, hums through camp.
our dirt pit, affectionately renamed
“the G spot”
while dead juniper carries on.

Hello friends,

I’ve received a number of requests for the chords/a lesson on how to play this song. I am honored that other musicians are interested in it, and so decided to post my own “how to” video for the song. Video below, and a downloadable chord chart is posted below that. Please reach out if you have any questions. Thanks for watching!

“I Don’t Want This” also titled “The Job Interview Song” was co-written with my friend, Terry Klein in Austin, TX.
Click link above to download chord chart / lyric PDF.
Original acoustic video of “I Don’t Want This.”

1.

i tried six salutations
on Kane Creek’s gravel road.
All the men refused me,
but one mother waved
gently
from her dune buggy.


Behind her mirrored goggles
I’m sure the corners
of her eyes
were creased from smiling,
year after year
child after child,
sprouting in her home.


But,
the men did not wave.
Couldn’t be bothered.
I know now, thanks to their
refusal
that they are stronger than me,
and their penises,
extraordinary.

2.

Patterns in the mud
remind me of
how little I matter.


you can hunt* me,
but I’m just a ripple.


I’m just, spilling ink,
a carnal, sugar-filled gorilla
burning lucky dinosaur bones
on a lark.


My wheelbox spits clouds
out it’s rusty asshole,
smelling putrid, but thankfully
the vapors are invisible
so I don’t have to care.


I don’t have to think.
These days, it’s considered overachieving.


Daydreams can’t be stopped

but they are passé.

Two Poems from Moab – written by Jackson Emmer – 10/2018

* = google

Hello friends,

I’ve been teaching songwriting workshops recently, so I put together a brief packet to help students jumpstart their “song” brains. Most of the information I cover in the workshop is about the writing process, and encouraging good writing habits. This always leads to a lively conversation with students- but there’s one page of the packet that is fairly “nuts and bolts.”

It covers basic chords, how those chords fit into keys, and a brief note on how to transpose (change keys) by using a capo. I’ve posted this sheet below, and hope you find it helpful. Please comment, share this link with your friends, or message directly if you’d like me to clarify anything. Again, I hope this helps! Enjoy.

Jackson Emmer _ Chords and Capo _ Music Theory

Hello friends,

I decided to compile my favorite music of 2018. These are not just songs or albums that were released in 2018, but what I found myself listening to most this year. The tunes are compiled in a Spotify playlist. Enjoy!

  • JE 

Hello friends and fellow music-lovers,

I am often asked about my influences, and always do my best to answer thoughtfully. I’m honored that anyone cares enough about who I listen to to ask. I see this as an opportunity to send more ears to the music of my closest influences and friends. For example: Sam Moss, Trevor Wilson, John Lilly, Terry Klein, Alison May, Letitia VanSant, and Alexa Rose are all artists I have performed or written with, and believe in.

If asked specifically about my favorite country songwriters, I often mention Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, John Prine, and Hank Williams– All of which should be fairly obvious. Chuck Berry should be on that list too, but I don’t mention him often because I don’t feel like arguing over whether or not his style was country or rock. It was both, and he was a talented, hardworking genius. I understand that celebrating Chuck has become increasingly problematic (as is the case with so many artists). Read more about that here, here, and in his own words, here.

What I rarely mention, is the influence of literature and poetry in my songwriting. It takes a while to explain, and I don’t think much about it during interviews because I’m too busy trying to field questions honestly without saying something stupid. That said, it’s time I give a few writers their due.

Colleen Barry is a contemporary poet whose book “Sunburn/Freezer Burn” I read daily. Her work is stunning.

E. E. Cummings showed me just how far one’s imagination could take a poem- I started reading his work when I was 11 or 12.

Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 11.00.23 AM

J. D. Salinger was also a big influence. I was an eager reader during my pre-teen years, and “Catcher in the Rye” made me feel understood, and inspired me to take writing seriously as my own form of expression.

Wayne Hoffmann-Ogier taught literature at my college. He told me once “Your writing is not good enough.” Then suggested I read “The Elements of Style” by Strunk & White. I’m glad Wayne was straight with me about this. I learned a lot.

Tom Robbins was my first introduction to crass, masculine writing. Dave Eggers served as a nice contrast to this- a little more anxiety, pain, realism. T. S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Edward Abbey– all staples of my early literary diet. Then it was on to Rumi, Hemingway, Vonnegut, Twain, and Shakespeare.

You may have noticed that there are more men on this list than women. Although I wish my consumption was more evenly split, I find that I often relate more towards male narratives. Perhaps that will shift over time.

Dan Reeder, David Byrne, Howlin Wolf, Willie Nelson, Missy Elliot, Fela Kuti, Dolly Parton, Little Walter, Merle Haggard, John Cage, Tony Rice, Glenn Branca, Tom Waits, Eazy-E, The Notorious B.I.G., and J Dilla have all influenced the way I use and organize sound. Their music has also taught me worlds about “message,” and distilling one’s artistic voice. This list doesn’t even include the producers, engineers, and accompanists who worked on those records and helped craft such influential sounds.

 

I hope this list helps you find more art to love. I hope finding more art to love inspires you to make your own- write a song, write a poem, write a book, whatever moves you. I hope people will someday list you and your irreplaceable work as one of their influences- Thanks again for asking about mine.

  • JE