Parallel Reality

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:50

    Clad in jeans and a black t-shirt, Shelby Jackson doesn't resemble the stiffs-in-suits running the corridors of corporate America. But come nightfall, Jackson's alter ego takes over, finding freedom behind a microphone and a guitar. Jackson is one-fourth of the group Jax 7, a local band bringing its own mix of fun and music to area stages. Comprised of Justine Prime, Marc Gattuso, John Keena and Jackson, Jax 7 has been on an unofficial tour of local venues to showcase their sound. In the past few months, the band has made the scene playing Top 40 hits from the past three decades along with its own brand of music. Jackson, whose family lives in Sparta, writes songs inspired by his life beyond the cubicle. "We play a little of everything," said Prime, Jax 7's vocalist. "We are a fun band." And having fun is the band's reason to exist. "We all have day jobs," said guitarist Gattuso. "This is a way of keeping us from going postal." The need to enjoy their stage lives is reflected in the band's show and music. Audiences take to the well-known tunes and empathize with Jackson's original pieces, such as "Uptown Jimmy," a ballad "about a guy who has everything and loses it because he doesn't have his priorities straight," said Jackson. "That's a corky song that was written in a stream of consciousness." In the next few weeks Jax 7 will perform locally at Panther Lake, Lockwood Tavern, and Byram Day. "When the people see us they will get to experience some soulful, quirky music, some nice country ballads, straight rock and roll and silliness," Jackson said.