Cheyenne Jackson is no stranger to a spotlight. His theater credits are extensive, including originating the roles of Chad in 2005's All Shook Up and Sonny Malone in 2007's Xanadu on Broadway. People may also recognize him from his stints as Danny (Jack) Baker on NBC's 30 Rock, Dustin Goolsby on FOX's Glee, Terry on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, Mark Bingham in the film United 93, or Billy Leatherwood in the HBO film Behind the Candelabra. In 2008, Jackson released a studio album called The Power of Two with Michael Feinstein, and will release his first full-length album of original music entitled I'm Blue, Skies on June 25.
I'm Blue, Skies is a perfectly summery pop album. It is chock full of catchy hooks built into radio-friendly anthems. Yet, the most interesting and enjoyable aspect of the album is Jackson's opulently lush High Baritone vocal instrument. His voice is on gorgeous and full display on every track, allowing Jackson to showcase his vast range, moving from his baritone range into the more tenor aspects of his voice to ensure that each song is well sung and well sold to listeners. Exploring his incredible range, Jackson deftly pays homage to his Broadway roots all while letting his vocals illustrate his passion for the music.
Despite his impressive vocals, the largest problem I'm Blue, Skies faces is that no song is particularly memorable. While the songs play, you'll find yourself tapping your toes and bouncing your head to the tracks, but nothing about these various melodies makes them emphatically stick with listeners. "Don't Look At Me," the latest track from the album to get music video treatment, will be featured Jackson's YouTube Channel starting June 14, 2013. It is an evocative and emotionally rich song that is made sumptuous by Cheyenne Jackson's ability to tell stories with his voice, but sadly it is not unforgettable. Likewise, the abounding energy in "Before You" and "I'm Blue, Skies" makes me long to drive with the top down at the beach, blasting these anthems at full volume. While songs like "Any Day Now," "Mr. Lonely Boy," and "Not Ready To Let You Go" showcase Jackson's ability to fill music with palpable sentiment and emotionality. Still, other songs like "Drive" and its Remix will make listeners want to throw their hands up and just dance. Unfortunately, once the entirely enjoyable album is over it is simply too easy to move on to something else.
Being a true singer-songwriter, Jackson wrote each of the songs on the disc. On various tracks, he had some assistance from Stevie Aiello, pop songstress SIA (Sia Furler), Chris Braide, The ELEV3N, Igloo, Tyler Lyles, Jay Levine, Charlotte Sometimes, and Kim Ålander. Jackson, Aiello, Tawgs, and The ELEV3N serve as Executive Producers on the album, with Braide, Igloo, Levine, Ben Toth, and Steve Bargonetti as Associate Producers and Engineers.
Overall, Jackson's I'm Blue, Skies is splendidly fun and entertaining, but regrettably forgettable. Fans and newcomers to Jackson's charm and thrilling voice will definitely love the bouncy and breezy album throughout the summer, but I doubt that the material will last with them much after the summer fades into fall.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.