When Amanda Jackson thinks of Fredericton, there’s one thing that immediately comes to mind: the river.
“We’re Maritimers,” Jackson explained. “We’re heavily influenced by water.”
Based out of Prince Edward Island, Jackson and her bandmates feel a strong connection to their east coast roots and fellow Maritime musicians—one of the many reasons the group is grateful to have been invited back to Harvest just one year after making their festival debut.
“It’s really nice to get to have face-to-face time with other musical Maritimers you haven’t seen seen in awhile,” Jackson stated, adding that the lack of competitiveness amongst her fellow east coast musicians contributes to making the scene so special.
“We’re really blessed that way. We need each other.”
Jackson’s close connection with her Maritime roots—especially her connection to the water that surrounds her—reveals a close care and concern for the world she inhabits. This care is reflected in her band’s music. Describing their sound as “adult contemporary with an R&B/blues flair,” Jackson admitted that the group’s songs often contain some element of social commentary; the band members are all environmentally conscious and passionate about causes such as animal rescue, and a song like “Human Zoo” was written by the band’s guitarist in direct response to a news report he had seen the day prior. Jackson sees engaging with the world as an artistic responsibility.
“Personally, I do feel I have a responsibility,” Jackson said. “I think in some ways, you can catalogue history through a record collection. When I listen to certain Neil Young albums, for instance, I know instantly what’s going on in that time in the world; it keeps events very alive, so if we can include current events and be a voice to that, I think we’re keeping those things alive and we’re reminding people what’s going on in the world. And hopefully, we can go back through that catalogue and see that we’re getting better—as a planet, and as a people.”
The band plans to highlight these socially-conscious aspects of their material during their Harvest set. One way they aim to do so is to provide their audience with the backstory to their songs, explaining the context that inspired the tracks; another way they plan to do so, though, is simply by putting on a great show.
“When you see the passion our band has onstage, it proves that this is coming from a genuine place.”
The group makes this passion a priority for each of their performances and hopes the feeling spreads to the audience.
“Our band is all friends, we consider ourselves ‘family’ onstage, and we love to open that up to include our audience. There’s a lot of give and take …We want to show up, include the crowd, feed off the crowd and hope that they feed off us.”
It’s a mission that Jackson sums up with a simple promise to anyone considering attending the band’s Harvest set: “We will move you.”
The Amanda Jackson Band will take over the Cox & Palmer Blues Court on Sept. 16 at 8:45 p.m. For tickets and more information visit Harvestjazzandblues.com.