Michael R. Jackson has made an appearance on this blog before singing "One of Us" with Joe Iconis, but he also has an amazing collection of his own songs, many of which he performed at the Bare Bones concert recently with Joe Iconis. And while I've only heard a couple of his songs before, I think that Joe's blurb in the SPF newsletter is a really great endorsement for his music:
"One of my absolute favorite new writers out there is the spectacularly-named Michael R. Jackson, aka Michael Living-Jackson. He was a classmate of mine at the Tisch Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program and I've loved his stuff for as long as I've known him.
The thing that makes him so special is his ability to transform situations that might seem outlandish or horrific into experiences that are shockingly moving and weirdly relatable. I feel like there's so much 'new musical theater' that's about being young and dating in New York- lots of songs about white people who go on picnics and have dreams and learn things and feel things. I've certainly written my fair share of those types of songs. But here is someone who is writing something completely different- a truly unique and electrifying voice.
Anyone reading this needs to stop what they are doing and watch a recording of Michael's song 'Jethro.' If you can watch that and not realize that you are experiencing the work of a true artist, you need to hang on to your Ferngully: The Musical! ticket stub and promise to never go to the theater ever, ever again."
The song Joe mentions is this one, which was performed by Jason "Sweet Tooth" Williams at the Bare Bones concert:
And to call it a rather shocking piece would be a bit of an understatement. There's something startling about the frankness of the portrait Jackson paints in his music. It's strikingly honest -- at times brutal, and suprisingly gentle when need be. Here are a couple other highlights from Bare Bones...
Molly Hager singing "Verse Chorus Song":
And "Blood and Lather" sung by Joe Iconis: