When his latest solo release, Passengers Volume One, arrived as a contender for Rock’s Top 20 chart in October of 2023, Jackson Stokes posted another notch on his growing list of accolades.  Whether as a seasoned bandleader, sought-after ensemble player, or valued collaborator, the rock/soul singer-songwriter from St Louis, Missouri continues to rise as a coveted musical commodity.  And with tens of thousands of touring miles logged across four continents- including, in 2023, a World Record achievement; performing 50 shows in 50 U.S. states in 49 days with the Devon Allman Project and Donavon Frankenreiter- Stokes is, as well, the consummate rock-and-roll road dog.

A six-song, groove-n-soul EP, Passengers Volume One, features Stokes helming his touring band and a host of special guests, and is produced by the venerable Luther Dickinson, of the Grammy-nominated North Mississippi Allstars.  Written almost entirely by Stokes, (with co-write contributions from bassist Paul Brackens and drummer Ben Bicklein on “Ride”), the half-dozen tracks showcase his ever-maturing songcraft, detailed with stripped-clean, riff-driven guitar, and intimate and arresting vocals.  Opening with the unadorned, dawning soul of “Until the Morning,” Stokes leads his trusted group through an inspired jam on the coda, then settles into the cycling rock of “Early Riser,” again propelled by his infectious guitar work, and a vocal cameo from Allman.

The second-half teems with the straight-ahead pulse of “Ride,” then shifts to the sunlit, hazy sway of “Gemini.”  Closing out Volume One, Stokes dips into down-and-dirty seduction on “Don’t Tempt Me,” and a assuring promise of a second and contrasting volume to come in 2024.  Throughout the collection, there are guest appearances from keyboard great, John Ginty, and singers, R. Scott Bryan, Mattie Schell, Allie Vogler, Joanna Sorenko, and Chris Turnbaugh, as well as string accompaniment from Mark Hochberg.

Over his decade-and-a-half career, Stokes, in his own right, also has been a welcomed guest onstage, opening for or collaborating with a who’s who of artists such as Robert Cray, Warren Haynes, Marcus King, Lucas Nelson, Samantha Fish, Ivan Neville, Eric Krasno, Eric Gales, Robert Randolph, The Waiers, The Allman Betts Band, and Tonina.

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