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Brickwall Jackson Hits All the Right Notes with "Big Orange Guitar"

On March 22, 2024, Brickwall Jackson will release the highly anticipated fourth studio album, Big Orange Guitar, and fans of no-frills, high-energy Americana have every reason to be excited.

With Big Orange Guitar, the Richmond, Virginia-based quartet delivers a unique blend of Americana, alt-country, and rock that breaks boundaries and tears down preconceived notions associated with traditional Americana music.


Consisting of Rod Hicks on drums, Andy Melchert on bass, and Sam Nixon on keys, and spearheaded by singer, songwriter, and self-taught guitarist Johnny Hudak, Brickwall Jackson's distinctive sound is born from an amalgamation of influences ranging from Steve Earl and Mike Campbell to Pete Townshend and Jimmy Page. It comes as no surprise that this album reveals a raw, aggressive attitude with a soul steeped in classic country, rock, and folk.


The unmistakable sound of Hudak's hollow body Gretsch along with Hicks' thunderous drumming on the opening title track, set the tone for an album that is, indeed, big with lots of orange guitar. "Big Orange Guitar" is a song dedicated to any Brickwall Jackson doubters who may be listening out there. To them, the self-assured and unapologetic guitar slinger offers this suggestion, "Why don't you suck the sweat off my big fat orange guitar." 

"Happy Ain't Happy" picks up where the opening track leaves off. This scorching guitar-driven track features some nifty rhythm playing by Hudak and a groovy blues-laden keyboard solo courtesy of Nixon. With the tight rhythm section of Hicks and Melchert providing the backbone, it quickly becomes evident that this is a group of formidable musicians.


The band dials things down on "Porch Swings," a feel-good country-tinged track with a timeless chorus demonstrating Hudak's skillful songwriting. His ability to craft a memorable song is a talent Hudak would likely credit to legendary singer-songwriter Steve Earl, of whom Hudak extols, "He's my favorite songwriter in the world... he's my hero." This track also features the multi-talented Hudak's prowess on mandolin, infusing welcomed elements of bluegrass.


My favorite track on the album is the sinister "Ol Scratch," a dark tale of power and influence as told from the perspective of the Devil himself. Hudak's haunting rhythm guitar and Melchert's bass slither their way around Hicks' brooding drums, conjuring a sublimely menacing atmosphere for lyrics like, "The greatest trick I played on man is I ain't real, oh yes I am, and you're willingly complicit in my plan." A scathing guitar solo interwoven with spoken word shapes the outro as the wicked one assures listeners, "I'll see you again."


Returning to the upbeat vibe conveyed throughout the rest of the album, "The Bricks" is a festive acoustic anthem that's sure to be a crowd pleaser that has fans listening at home, in their car, or attending a Brickwall Jackson show singing along at the top of their lungs. An ode to perseverance and overcoming life's hurdles, Hudak sings,


"I fall down, I get up, I dust myself off,

wait for the light of the day,

 When I get to the end of the road that I'm on,

 the bricks there will show me the way."


With Big Orange Guitar, Brickwall Jackson has assembled a collection of songs that serve listeners a unique slice of Americana. The album is an unabashed and edgy portrayal of life's meandering roads told through polished musicianship and evocative lyrics. It's a soundtrack to stories untold, a companion on cross-country road trips, and a reason to believe in the enduring spirit and evolution of American music.

Download "Big Orange Guitar" on iTunes and stream on Apple Music.

Written by Michael Scanlon



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