This article ends my summer Fan Music series. I’m sad to see it go, but I did decide to go out with a bang and cover the not-so-secret musician/actor who is tied to all the musicians featured in August. That individual would be Jensen Ackles, current star of Supernatural.
Ackles has been involved in a number of music recordings, both as a songwriter and a singer. He’s worked extensively with his friends Jason Manns and Steve Carlson on their CDs and we, as fans, have gotten to benefit from that. Let’s take a look at those favorites and revel in the multi-talented Jensen Ackles.
“I Saw Her Standing There” (Roark Critchlow featuring Jensen Ackles / Soap Sessions 3)
I’m putting this in more as a novelty than anything. Remember when Ackles was Eric Brady on Days of Our Lives? That’s what I eternally associate Ackles with because I grew up with him in the role. And soaps tend to do tie-in projects. One of those projects was a CD featuring soap stars singing. The lead on this song was Roark Critchlow, who played alongside Ackles on DOOL as Mike Horton, while Ackles took the background vocals and the lead on some verses. Even back then it was evident that he had musical talent.
“Come ‘Round More Alabama” (Steve Carlson / Spot on the Corner)
Steve Carlson and Jensen Ackles are very good friends and they’ve worked together on quite a few of Carlson’s CDs. Ackles sang harmonies on this Carlson song, the only one noted from the album. You can hear Ackles supporting this song and his voice blends with Carlson’s very well. There’s a reason they sing together a lot and this would be why. He doesn’t overpower the lead, but instead provides rich harmonies.
“Hummingbird Billy” (Steve Carlson Band / Rollin’ On)
This was one of two songs from the Rollin’ On album that Ackles provided background vocals on. The background vocalists were numerous on this song, so it’s hard to single out Ackles, but he contributes to the total beat quite well. It’s supposed to be a team effort and it is. While the instruments carry most of the song, when the background vocalists do contribute, they blend well into the song.
“Rocking Chair” (Steve Carlson Band / Rollin’ On)
The other song from the Rollin’ On album that Ackles contributed background vocals was “Rocking Chair.” Again, the instruments carry most of the song with Carlson’s lead vocals, but the background vocals do help support the beat. Another song where you can’t point out and go “that, right there — that’s Jensen Ackles,” but you know he’s there and it’s just as good.
“Wasted Jamie” (Steve Carlson / Groovin’ on the Inside)
The last song featuring Ackles in background vocals is “Wasted Jamie” from the Groovin’ on the Inside album. I can actually hear him better on this song than his other background contributions. Ackles has a powerful voice that makes itself known when there’s not a tremendous amount of instruments or other vocals competing against him. I listen to this one quite a bit, too, simply because I can point out more clearly “that’s Jensen!” It makes me hope that they do more studio work together.
“Love You or Leave You” (Steve Carlson / Stripped Down)
For this album, Ackles was a co-writer for two songs. Contributing lyrics is a special treat for me because it adds another layer to the Ackles/Carlson dynamic. This song has a nice beat that tells a story of love’s choice, but no matter which choice is made the result is going to be hard. “Love you or leave you, it’s all the same.”
“Where My River Flows” (Steve Carlson / Stripped Down)
The other writing contribution Ackles made to this album was “Where My River Flows.” The song is again about love lost and longing. I like the beat of this one because it reminds me of slow dancing, one-two-three-four beat around the dance floor. No matter how many times love has damaged him, no matter how bad the idea of staying is, he keeps returning. “Cause it’s what I do / I come back to you / I’m only human / No matter where I go / You’re where my river flows.”
“Crazy Love” (Jason Manns / Independently Recorded)
This rendition of the song came about because Manns and Ackles sang it together at a Supernatural convention and the fandom wanted it, so they went down to the studio and recorded this version. It is, without a doubt, my favorite recording that Jensen Ackles has ever done. He takes an entire section of the song by himself and you can hear the power that this man’s voice has. I listen to this version of the song quite a bit and there’s a reason for it.
Jensen Ackles could do great things in the studio. I hope that Steve Carlson and Jason Manns get him to return for more contributions to their albums. And how about good friend Christian Kane? Future albums coming out, so why not a few vocals from Ackles? I want to hear more music from Jensen Ackles. While I wait, I’ll go re-listen to these previous contributions. It’s always a good time.