Following the release of his seventh studio album, Southwestern High School graduate Jackson Rohm will show local fans the edgier side of his musical talents during a Friday night show at Jamestown Savings Bank Arena.
He has released a variety of songs throughout his two decades as a full-time, professional musician, but Rohm decided to return to his roots with the release of "Blindsided."
Rohm entered an Atlanta recording studio with his long-time collaborator, Aaron Thompson, with more than 20 newly written songs at his disposal. He and Thompson, the album's producer, ultimately settled on a 12-track CD.
Jackson Rohm will play in the Arena Club of Jamestown Savings Bank Arena on Friday night at 7. Tickets for the all-ages show are $7 and can be purchased by calling 484-2624 or going to jsbia.com.
Despite Rohm's return to a pop-rock sound, he doesn't expect his country-loving fans will dislike "Blindsided" due to the album's diversity.
"I dabble in a variety of genres," he said. "It's hard to pin down how to categorize any of my CDs. Overall, I wanted to put out something that was a little more rockin' and still poppy. I tried to write the hooks and keep my lyrics relatable. This album is definitely different from the previous two anyway, and I hope people dig it."
Rohm described his sixth album, "Acoustic Sessions," as "an MTV Unplugged kind of thing." Prior to that, he recorded his fifth release, country album "Long Way from Moving On," in 2008. He had previously recorded pop-rock songs such as "Rio" and "Gasoline and Matches" that gained radio play in the Jamestown-Warren area.
As has been a staple throughout Rohm's career, he wrote all of the "Blindsided" songs on acoustic guitar, and that sound bleeds through on each of the 12 tracks. Rohm calls the record "acoustic-based pop" and doesn't plan to ditch his unplugged sound anytime soon since he plays the majority of his shows as a solo-acoustic act. He'll play unaccompanied in the Arena Club on Friday night.
"Any of these songs can be pulled off with just one acoustic guitar, but I wanted a full band in the studio and to get back to something a little more high-energy," Rohm said. "I think it will be a welcome return for the fans of mine who like the rock stuff over the country. Hopefully, the country fans won't be too let down and will be receptive to this sound as well."
Rohm plans to play several songs from "Blindsided," many of his older tunes and some covers Friday night and throughout his current tour, which will take him from Ohio to Florida to New York and back again.
He has hundreds of cover tunes at his disposal, including songs by artists such as Cat Stevens, Zac Brown Band, Pearl Jam and many others.
"I enjoy doing stuff that's new to me," he said. "As great a song as 'Brown Eyed Girl' is, I'm a little tired of playing it. I'll still play it if people want to hear it. I'm happy to do whatever people want to hear, but for the most part, I love playing my own music. I think every artist does. You've got to deliver what they want, so cover songs are always a part of my set as well."
PLAYING WHAT HE WANTS
As an independent recording artist, Rohm doesn't have record-label executives breathing down his neck, telling him what to write and record. Although he wants to create music his fans will enjoy and buy, Rohm shifted back to a pop-rock sound to please himself more than anyone else, and he is more than happy with the song quality and songwriting displayed on "Blindsided."
"It's a matter of personal preference for this record," he said. "I wanted to get some raunchy electric guitars on there, so I wrote songs that I thought would suit that kind of production."
Rohm doesn't know which of the dozen "Blindsided" tunes will resonate most with DJs and music fans. However, some of the album's more rockin' tunes such as "Superglue," "Blue Skies and Butterflies" and "Make up Your Mind" have received positive feedback so far.
The title track is the most personal of the 12 for Rohm.
"I'm now engaged to the girl I met a year and a half ago," he said. "I wrote that song shortly after we started dating. That's a song that I hope people will dig and might be able to relate to the lyrics."
Rohm, who is in the process of moving from Cleveland to Buffalo to live with his fiancee, doesn't know what his future in the music industry will hold. He might return to Nashville in a couple years to record another country album, or he could stick with the pop-rock vibe of "Blindsided." He knows he has a busy spring and summer of touring ahead of him. He wants to keep recording and performing for live audiences, and he's happy with where he's at.
"I never want to be the house band playing the same bar every Friday night with same clientele - the same set list," he said. "It's cool to go new places and see new faces in the crowd. No matter what happens in my life, I still intend to record and to continue. I don't predict that I'll be out there touring with any big artist, playing these gigantic stages at any point in my life. Whether I chose it or not, that's where I am, and I'm content with it."
Admission to Rohm's Friday night arena show is $7 and includes all fees. The all-ages show will begin at 7. Call 484-2624 or visit jamestownarena.com for tickets.