Stewart Eastham, ‘Jackpot’ [Exclusive Premiere]
Twangy Nashville singer-songwriter Stewart Eastham is debuting “Jackpot,” one of the new songs from his forthcoming Dancers in the Mansion album, exclusively for readers of The Boot.
Fans of Conway Twitty and slick old-school country will want to take note of Eastham's new tune. Sonically, “Jackpot” is a modern interpretation of the "countrypolitan" sound popularized by artists such as Twitty and Glen Campbell in the 1970s. Hints of jazz and old soul can be found around the edges, recalling Sturgill Simpson’s recent embrace of classic Stax songs.
After spending a lot of time listening to Ray Charles’ Modern Sounds in Country and Western and George Jones ballads, Eastham “stumbled” onto the chord progression heard in "Jackpot" while messing around on his guitar.
“Playing that over and over, the chorus lyrics kind of magically came to me,” the artist says. “Once I had the chorus locked, then I had my basic concept for the song, and from there, I was able to fill in the verse lyrics.”
The lyrics of "Jackpot" are decidedly more dark than something like Twitty's “Hello Darlin’,” but the song is ultimately about falling in love with a soulmate.
“I tried to hide the really dark concepts in these sort of grandiose metaphors, which I thought matched the grandiosity of the music,” Eastham explains. “To me, that made the song all the more sweet that this guy who traveled through all this darkness finally found the love of his life. It’s not so different than myself.”
Nashville-based gospel singers the McCrary Sisters provide lush, soul-shaking harmonies on “Jackpot.”
“I was truly in awe watching as they worked out the four harmony parts amongst themselves,” Eastham recalls. “It didn’t take long and they were ready to record. Then, as we recorded with them, hearing all the subtle variations they’d do on different takes -- it was very inspiring to witness.”
Born in Northern California and raised on Merle Haggard, Eastham moved to Nashville in 2010. Dancers in the Mansion, due out on Aug. 12, is the follow-up project to 2013’s The Man I Once Was. It was Eastham’s first time working as a co-producer on his own album, an experience that ultimately made for a more personal record.
“Being so hands-on with this album, I think the snapshot it presents is closer to my personality than anything I’ve done before,” he admits. “While the last album was me looking inward, this one is more me looking outwards. So, in a strange way, it probably gives a better a sense of who I am and what I find interesting or moving.”
Listen to Stewart Eastham, "Jackpot":