The product of a thriving hard-rock scene in the college town of Athens, Ga., bluesy garage-rock band Mother Jackson has perfected the art of scraping amiably along with their edgy-but-optimistic musical personality intact.

Mother Jackson first started kicking in 2001 when guitarist Paul McHugh, drummer Jim Wilson, and bassist Nathan Allen started jamming. Guitarist Richard Mikulka completed the lineup, and they soon developed a riffy hybrid of Southern-tinged, punk-fueled blues-rock.

“We never easily fit into a musical category,” says main songwriter McHugh. “I never intended for us to sound like anyone else. The band’s sound just grew on its own. It wasn’t planned out or anything; it was just a natural progression.”

With two full-length albums under its belt — 2004’s Suck on This and 2008’s Loud and Proud: The Soundtrack to Damnation — the band has hit the road more frequently in recent years, delivering a raw, guitar-driven style with a dose of charming tomfoolery.

With a new rhythm section in place, they plan to tour the Southeast this winter and spring. Drummer Matt Hudgins and bassist T.J. Machado joined the band just a few months ago. While core members McHugh and Mikulka remain at the helm, 2010 just might be Mother Jackson’s year to really stretch into new sonic territory.

“T.J. is a killer bass player who really does his homework and loves to hit the road,” McHugh says. “And Matt just kills it on the drums. They’re great to have on hand.”

McHugh’s latest batch of songs — many of which he wrote on an old piano he inherited from his parents — are ripe for another studio session. “That was the original instrument I learned when I was growing up,” he says. “I switched to guitar ’cause I wanted to rock [laughs]. It’s only been in the last year or so that I’ve started banging around on piano again.

“These days, we’re doing only a couple of songs off of each album, and mostly doing brand-new material,” McHugh adds. “I’ve been getting back into the Delta blues and stuff. The new stuff is a bit more dark and melodic in a way, too. When we first started, things were balls-to-the-wall, really fast. Now, it’s a little more … mature.”

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