New Jersey Indie-Folk Duo Jackson Pines Debut Rustic New EP, 'Lost and Found'
With a population of less than 50,000 and a 70 mile hike to New York City, Jackson, New Jersey, doesn't sound like an ideal place for musicians to get their start. But for Jackson natives Joe Makoviecki and James Black, growing up in a small town unearthed their love for playing music for a living.
"It was an amazing place to grow up in the '00s because every weekend there was a local show with a few of your friends' bands and a few coming through in a van on tour," Makoviecki explains to Billboard. "Once in a while, we got to open for bands we really looked up to in the church hall down the road. I think that's what convinced me playing music seriously was actually possible."
Spending seven years in a folk band with Black and five of their best friends -- opening for the likes of Old Crow Medicine Show, Mumford & Sons and The Avett Brothers -- the group eventually disbanded last year. But while Makoviecki continued to make music after the group's end, he decided that what he was crafting was too deep for just one person to perform. So he recruited Black to assist on upright bass, and "it felt like home after that." In line with that homey feeling, the two decided to name their new project after their hometown: come fall 2016, Jackson Pines was born.
Despite being a new duo, Makoviecki and Black's indie-folk/acoustic offerings caught the attention of The Felice Brothers' Simone Felice, whom Makoviecki says he spent his whole teenhood following. Felice offered to record Jackson Pines' debut LP, Purgatory Road, which was released this past February and sounds almost like a mash-up of James Taylor and Tom Petty -- with serious focus on acoustic guitar.
After spending the first half of this year touring on their 10-song debut in opening slots for Margo Price, Jessica Lea Mayfield, The London Souls and Simone Felice, new songs began to materialize that Makoviecki says felt like an encore to Purgatory Road. The result is a new four-song EP, Lost and Found, unveiled exclusively on Billboard today (Aug. 9).
"Each tune is a separate emotion, all orbiting this feeling of loss," Makoviecki explains of the EP's title. "Loss of friends and youth, loss of life, the breaking of your heart, finding memories. Finding new parts of yourself you didn't know existed."
While bound by a sense of transition (as Makoviecki puts it), the new tracks don't veer too far from the vibe Jackson Pines introduced to fans last year. All of the songs stay true to their raw acoustic sound, starting off with the wavy, reminiscent titular track and making its way to the somber ballad “Undone,” with bouncy acoustics on “Human Heart” and a harmonica-tinged tale of heartbreak, “You Will Never Understand," in between.
As the EP makes its way to fans old and new, Makoviecki and Black are hitting the road with folk rockers Fruition for some select Northeast states and plan to release a vinyl edition of Purgatory Road later this fall as they continue touring and getting their name out there. Although their latest musical venture is still rather new to the scene, the guys of Jackson Pines already have a collection of music that presents a unique lyrical take on life, bringing a rustic flair to the world of indie-folk/acoustic music. And whether or not Makoviecki and Black foresaw an indie-folk project in their future during those days of checking out the local Jackson, New Jersey, music scene, they’ve certainly only just begun.
Check out Lost and Found and Jackson Pines’ upcoming tour dates below:
Aug. 10 — Wellfleet, MA @ The Beachcomber
Aug. 11 -- Westerly, RI @ The Knickerbocker Cafe
Aug. 13 — Dewey Beach, DE @ The Rusty Rudder
Aug. 16 — Asbury Park, NJ @ Wonder Bar
Sept. 24 — Asbury Park, NJ @ Indian Summer Festival