Jackson Price's swan song for Taos

Versatile musician moving to Rhode Island

by Laura Bulkin
Posted 5/21/20

Jackson Price has been a fixture on the Taos music scene for more than a decade.

Price came to Taos from Los Angeles, California, where he spent 15 years doing bit parts in movies, guest spots on TV shows and commercials. After playing lead guitar in a Los Angeles-based blues band called the Mighty Mojo Prophets, he decided to move his family to New Mexico.

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Jackson Price's swan song for Taos

Versatile musician moving to Rhode Island

Posted

Jackson Price has been a fixture on the Taos music scene for more than a decade.

Price came to Taos from Los Angeles, California, where he spent 15 years doing bit parts in movies, guest spots on TV shows and commercials. After playing lead guitar in a Los Angeles-based blues band called the Mighty Mojo Prophets, he decided to move his family to New Mexico.

Here, he started a jump blues band called Big Swing Theory, with Jeremy Jones on saxophone, Conrad Cooper on bass and Max Moulton on drums. Big Swing Theory has been together since 2009 playing gigs in California, Rhode Island, Wisconsin and steady gigs in New Mexico.

Wanting to get back to his roots as a straight blues songwriter and guitar player, he created a second band called Jackson Price and the Blues Rockets: Colin Jenkinson on bass, David Chmil on guitar and Moulton on drums. Jackson Price and the Blues Rockets played a long-running weekly blues night at the Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership as well as regular gigs all over Taos. They just released their debut album, "I Used to Have Fun." The album is nominated for two 2020 New Mexico music awards, Blues Song of the Year and Rock Song of the Year.

Big Swing Theory's Jones said, "I have known Jackson for almost 15 years as a fellow musician and have witnessed his dedication and passion for his craft. He is a disciplined, hard-working artist who has emerged from the studio with a truly unique and original take on the blues genre. He has surrounded himself with talented accomplices."

During quarantine, Price has been composing songs on acoustic guitar for a possible acoustic trio once it's safe to play music at venues again.

Price confided to us that his time in Taos is coming to an end.

"I am moving to Rhode Island this summer," he said. "Unfortunately, this wasn't the way I had my final three months as a musician in Taos mapped out. Big Swing Theory was supposed to kick off Taos Plaza Live this summer as a swan song, and the Blues Rockets lost out on an opportunity to play the New Mexico Music Awards. This is a sad way to say goodbye to this town I love. Man, I miss playing!"

He spoke about staying sane during quarantine. "I am an introvert who can hang out in a room playing guitar all day and be perfectly happy. It's not as hard for me as others to be isolated. I have been really enjoying the time with my wife and my kids. My kids are only this age once and I'm soaking it up. This is a great opportunity to be involved with my kids. My son and I have been doing a lot of home improvement projects together.

"Truth is, I can only play so much guitar without getting a little blue. I miss my bands. The members of Big Swing Theory are my best friends in Taos and I feel a huge void in my life without getting to play live music or rehearse for that matter. Playing music is my passion. When I think of playing fun gigs and not knowing if that can be a reality again, I can sink pretty low thinking about it. I need to stay in the present moment and not worry about things that I can't control."

We asked him his thoughts on the future. "It's impossible to know what the new reality for gigging will be, but I need to stay positive and hope we can have a life similar to the one we had before. Otherwise, I might as well pack up my electric guitars and move to acoustic for my own enjoyment.

"I love playing in bands. I love it so much more than playing solo. There is no substitute for the energy you can create as an organism working together in harmony and when an audience starts to feed off of that energy they supply their own energy and we all feel like the world is perfect for however long it lasts. That's why dancing is so wonderful as well. You can become a part of the music.

"I think the argument for playing solo in the past was that you didn't have to deal with other artists, which can be really difficult, you have full control and there was no splitting of the money. Going forward we may have to play solo out of necessity. I certainly hope not!"

He spoke lovingly of his time here in Taos. "The town of Taos is a really safe place to be creative. In fact, it seems like everyone is creative in Taos and because of that, everyone is more apt to support other people's creativity. I know that people have supported both of my bands here and I'm super grateful for that. We've played lots of great gigs here.

"I'm really proud that the Blues Rockets are up for these awards, because it brings some validation to the work I've put in. Max Moulton is the drummer in both of my bands. He has produced and engineered the albums for both bands while being the rational brain for me to run ideas and songs by that are in their germination stage, and the one to set me straight when I felt like I might lose it. Conrad Cooper was the first musician I played with here in Taos when I talked him into dusting off his upright bass 12-plus years ago to start a band. It's been a lot of fun."

FYI

For more info, visit thebigswingtheory.com and jacksonpriceblues.com.

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