“When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.”– John Ruskin (1819-1900)
It may be that the famous English art critic Ruskin uttered these words well over a century ago, but they remain relevant today, perfectly describing the life of married couple Shawn Fisher and Jordyn Jackson. As the Truth or Consequences, NM-based ‘Harmonic Alternative Folk’ duo Flagship Romance they live, work, and annually travel tens of thousands of miles together, deeply in love with each other and the process of bringing their emotionally powerful music to the people. It is an inspiring union of hearts, minds and souls that entrances all who encounter them and their art.
Fluent, intense acoustic guitar playing; lyrics of life’s peaks, troughs, mysteries and wonders; soaring, yearning vocals; tender, though oft-anthemic melodies, and harmonies one could barely separate with a single human hair: this is the Flagship Romance sound. Live, sharing a custom-built dual microphone stand, they deliver their beautiful material with passionate abandon, living each song as if it will be the last they will ever perform. Such commitment to their music and stagecraft has, in just a few short years, seen the aptly-monikered Flagship Romance become huge favourites of the North American house concert circuit. This suits them just fine, as Shawn and Jordyn’s preferred performance scenario is an intimate venue where the audience is tucked up close enough to them that they can hear them breathe (and, unfailingly, gasp at Shawn and Jordyn’s chemistry and dynamics). Yet they have also appeared at festivals, clubs and concert halls, sharing stages with international acts including Half Moon Run, Iris DeMent, Mason Jennings and the Goo Goo Dolls.
Flagship Romance are on the road for upwards of eight months a year, and have been pretty much since the release of their 2013 debut EP, The Fudge Sessions. If ever a testament to this extraordinary work ethic were needed, it would be the reaction to the crowdfunding campaigns they’ve launched to finance their last three full-length albums, thanks to the considerable backing of the duo’s rapidly burgeoning legion of fans.
On the back of such a successful project, one that emphatically delivered on their promises, a sophomore full-length was hotly anticipated. Lo and behold, another overwhelmingly positive Kickstarter campaign ensured that Flagship Romance could craft 2017’s Tales from the Self-Help Section exactly as they wished to, employing a subtly richer sound and new vocal approaches by Jordyn. Produced by Lucio Rubino at The Fish Tank Recordings in St. Augustine, FL, Tales from the Self-Help Section is a personal, largely self-examining and emotional 12-song opus, documenting “the little victories, failures and lessons” Shawn and Jordyn have experienced during the last couple of years, “mostly dealing with the battles of ‘being present,’ and living with depression and anxiety.”
On the evidence of their gorgeous work to date it is clear that the love and skill of which John Ruskin spoke intertwine in perfect harmony in the cases of Shawn Fisher and Jordyn Jackson, and that, indeed, little masterpieces are the results. Yes, Ruskin would have loved Flagship Romance.