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The Blue & Gray Press | August 17, 2017

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Music playlist suggestions by Jackson Wright

Massimo Variolo/Flickr

By RUTH BORDETT

It is a given that music majors serve as an authoritative source for well-informed opinions on music. As a senior music major at the University of Mary Washington with a concentration in bass performance, Jackson Wright is no exception.

Drawing inspiration from his older brother, Wright began playing guitar at a young age, but wanting to differentiate himself he switched to playing the bass. Despite plans of being an English major upon first entering college, Wright says he changed his mind because, “Music was just always something I liked more than anything else.” His says his time at UMW has allowed him to broaden his musical horizons, learning to play upright bass and participating in the school’s Jazz Ensemble.

Although his studies in music have made him open to all types of genres, he does hold a disdain for the genre of serialism. He describes the dissonance present in the mathematics-based genre as “ear-piercing.” Instead, Wright often opts for more accessible music from widely loved bands, like Steely Dan and Radiohead.

“Deacon Blues” – Steely Dan, Aja (1977)

Melding the genres of rock and jazz together well, Wright places emphasis on the importance of having to “learn to work the saxophone.” He highlights his love for the instrument as well as the “great bass line” that he enjoys playing along with.

“Black Angels” – George Crumb, Thirteen Images from the Dark Land (1971)

Wright became fascinated with Crumb after finishing a research paper on the classical musician. This multi-movement piece plays with timbre by featuring quartet players using drinking glasses with varying amounts of water to get different tones and violin bows on the glasses, as well as gongs. Based on Crumb’s interest in numerology, the piece focuses on the numbers seven and thirteen.

“Pray for Rain” – The Ergs!, dorkrockcorkrod (2003)

Wright frequently falls back on The Ergs!, who make music that he describes as “nasally crunchy punk.” He not only enjoys their angst-ridden lyrics about failed relationships but also appreciates the palindrome that is the title of the album in which the song is included.

“Blue Spotted Tail” – Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues (2011)

This song is “simple and intimate,” a description that Wright says he chalks up to its use of “really quiet guitar and vocals.” Wright also enjoys playing along to the song on guitar due to the finger-picking style and complex chords that it possesses.

“Nude” – Radiohead, In Rainbows (2007)

The cool synths and sounds make this a song that Wright continually returns to. Finding Thom Yorke’s voice to be “weird and relaxing,” it is a gorgeous track that he “never stopped listening to.”

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