Bill Jackson Finds The Wayside – A Review

Read our review of Bill Jackson’s The Wayside Ballads Vol. 1

Wayside – noun – The side or edge of a road, way, path or highway; adjective – situated at or near the side of a road, way, path or highway

Common idiom: fall by the wayside = to fail to continue, give up

After listening to Bill Jackson’s The Wayside Ballads Vol 1 (2015 -Laughing Outlaw Records), I thought I’d better double-check the meaning of wayside as it is core to the title and key to unlocking some of the secrets within.  These are ballads of retrogrades and heroes/heroines, people whose fame has dissipated over the years.  As Bill himself says on the albums’ liner notes:

‘Songs…populated by characters outside of the mainstream – in many ways somewhat extraordinary ordinary but always real.  Rather than have them fall off the edge we wrote these Ballads to give them a voice and a history’

Jackson has staked a claim as a fine singer/songwriter with a well-honed and unashamedly Australian sensibility and focus.  His previous record Jerilderie (2011) was well received.  All songs on the new release were written by Jackson and his brother Ross, except for “Try” and “Judgement Day”.  The imprint is clear, which is all the better as it’s Jackson’s vision which compels the listeners’ attention.

Highlights are many here.  For me, I need to mention the opener “Try” which powerfully rails against lack of compassion and insincerity with a driving blues beat, the captivating “Kate’s Pretty Green Dress” a poignant story of Ned Kelly’s sister and the impact Ned’s fate had on her life, the growling and prowling “The Last Buccaneer” a terrific and terrifying account of ‘Bully’ Hayes, the American-born ship’s captain who was feared around the Pacific due to his exploits, and the delicate and tender closer “When The Whiskey Runs Out”.

The Wayside Ballads Vol 1 assembles a ruddy and powerful collection of stories of humanity (or the lack thereof).  It’s a tribute to Jackson’s story telling and insight, his aptly earthy and gruff vocals together with the wonderful Pete Fidler’s commanding guitar work – it makes for a grand album.

The Band consists of Jackson (vocals and acoustic guitar), Fidler (lap steel, electric guitar, dobro, mandolin), Australian maestro Shannon Bourne (electric guitars, acoustic guitar, piano, bass and backing vocals), Dean Addison (upright bass) and drummer Roger Bergodaz.  Bourne’s production provides plenty of oomph and chutzpah.

The album will be launched Friday 7 August at The Caravan Club Oakleigh, Melbourne.  Tickets here.

Bill is seeking subscriber funding for his follow-up The Wayside Ballads Vol 2 (USA) which I eagerly await.  You can pledge support here to help get the album off the ground.


Read our review of Bill Jackson’s The Wayside Ballads Vol. 1

Read our review of Bill Jackson’s The Wayside Ballads Vol. 1


(Visited 87 times, 1 visits today)

Author: Rob Dickens

Share This Post On
468 ad


  1. The Wayside Ballads Vol 2 – A Review | Music Mainline - […] This is a lively and welcome follow-up to Bill Jackson‘s  The Wayside Ballads Vol 1 (2015), which was a…

Leave a Reply