Music & Nightlife

Jonathan Jackson’s ‘Nashville’ experience gives the actor’s band a boost

(L to R) Drummer Richard Jackson, frontman Jonathan Jackson, and bassist Daniel Sweatt.
(L to R) Drummer Richard Jackson, frontman Jonathan Jackson, and bassist Daniel Sweatt.

As “Nashville’s” Avery Barkley, actor Jonathan Jackson spent last week’s finale in tears. But the five-time Daytime Emmy winner – who plays opposite Hayden Panettiere’s post-partum-addled country singer Juliette on the ABC series – has no reason to cry.

The nighttime soap, which centers on the country music industry, was recently renewed for a third season, and Jackson’s rock band Enation is enjoying a higher profile thanks to the singer/guitarist’s prime-time gig and Loud and Proud Records (home to Rob Zombie, Rush and Rick Springfield).

The trio, which released its latest album “Radio Cinematic” under the new name Jonathan Jackson + Enation, plays the Double Door Sunday.

Jackson’s foray into music comes as no surprise to soap opera fans who have followed the actor since he joined “General Hospital” in 1993 at age 9. But landing the job on “Nashville,” he says, “was just a godsend.”

“To put my energy toward acting and music at the same time has been incredible,” he says. “They get some of the best songwriters in Nashville. ... I feel blessed and grateful to be on a show where I get to do music, and then they’ve also been supporting it with live performances at the Ryman and the Opry, where we get to perform as ourselves.”

The rarity of successful actor/musicians isn’t lost on Jackson. For every Jared Leto, there are five Keanu Reeves.

“There’s the hesitancy some people have toward actors who do music or musicians who act,” Jackson says. “There’s a stigma there, but we’ve used that from the beginning. It’s made us fighters. We have to go out and prove ourselves. It’s given a little underlying punk edge to the band.”

TV fans may expect country, but Enation makes grand, emotive, arena-ready rock. Mixing elements of U2, 30 Seconds to Mars, Jeff Buckley and Led Zeppelin, “Radio Cinematic” sounds like a band on the verge, though it’s not a new band.

He and bandmates Richard Jackson (Jonathan’s brother/drummer, who is also an actor) and bassist Daniel Sweatt have been playing together for years.

“A good friend of mine who has played with the same musicians for 25 or 30 years in his band was saying there’s something very special about playing music with the same group for a long period of time,” Jonathan Jackson says. “It becomes second nature. You speak the same language.”

“We’re able to challenge and push each other where there’s a foundation of trust and friendship,” he says. “Nowadays bands don’t have as much time. We started as an independent band, but I think the positive of that was we really had time to develop and record and arrange.”

Jackson also credits his experience in and on “Nashville.”

“I feel like a sponge and a fly on the wall to listen and watch these phenomenally gifted people do what they do. There’s a real camaraderie,” he says. “In L.A., things feel more isolated and disconnected. Here, there’s a community.”

Courtney’s blog: cltsoundbites.blogspot.com

PREVIEW

Jonathan Jackson + Enation

WHEN: 9 p.m. Sunday.

WHERE: Double Door Inn, 1218 Charlottetowne Ave.

TICKETS: $15-$50.

DETAILS: 704-376-1446; www.doubledoorinn.com.

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