Photography by Kendall Wilson
Jackson Dean brought a simmering intensity to The Long Road Festival's Rhinestone stage on Saturday afternoon.
The Maryland native was greeted by a sea of cheers as he strode out from the wings for his Long Road Festival debut, and Jackson Dean could have been forgiven if there were some nerves and jitters being felt beneath his stylish, feather-adorned cowboy hat.
However, as soon as he launched into ‘Trailer Park’, it was clear the up-and-coming artist would not need any time to settle into his performance. Dean brought a sense of swagger and off-kilter charisma that made the audience relax, with the singer-songwriter's high-octane blend of Southern rock and classic country pricking the ears of the Blackberry Smoke fans that had already set up camp at the front of the stage.
Jackson Dean rattled through a selection of highlights from his acclaimed 2022 debut, Greenbroke, such as the self-aware earworm, ‘Fearless’, to the rustic ode to simple livin’, ‘Don't Take Much’.
Excitingly, Dean made the occasion all the more special by showcasing a slew of unreleased tracks, including the heartwarming tribute to “one of the most legendary dogs that ever touched this planet”, ‘Big Blue Sky’. The beautifully crafted ‘Heavens To Betsy’, which appears on Jackson Dean's celebrated 2023 Live at The Ryman project, revolves around the touching story of a deceased father looking down on his daughter.
Jackson Dean is a man of relatively few words, but when he speaks, he casts his steely glare across the crowd before him and offers a clipped, enigmatic description of the next track. This is epitomised ahead of another unreleased gem, ‘Blackout’, which Dean introduces with the ominous teaser, “We'll take a little trip to the dark side”.
The crown jewel of Jackson Dean's repertoire is unquestionably his first ever No. 1 at Country Radio, ‘Don't Come Lookin’, which captures the crackling ferocity that underpins his sound.
When performed live as his grand finale, the untamed anthem, ‘Don't Come Lookin’, takes on a newfound sense of anarchic fire, with Dean refusing to let a rainy afternoon dampen his effervescent energy.
Jackson Dean - Setlist
Taken from his set at The Long Road Festival in Leicestershire, UK on Saturday, August 26th 2023:
For more on The Long Road Festival 2023, see below: