I’ve been waiting for a release from Jesse Jackson for six years; sure I’ve been fed titbits from My Space and You Tube, but I wanted the real deal, and finally it’s come…
Back in 2006 I spent Spring in Miami and went along to the annual Carnaval on the Mile – a celebration of music and art. On one of the smaller stages I came across Jesse Jackson; it was just him and two double bass players, or were they cellos? My memory plays tricks. Regardless, I remember thinking that the guy had a great sound. They were selling CDs for $10. But my money had been spent in the long nights of the bars and clubs of South Beach.
Back in England I did what anyone does: I Googled Jesse Jackson. There he was on My Space but no releases. The CD must have been a homemade affair. The songs I heard on My Space delighted me, and the performances on You Tube were cool. And then, in 2012, finally, a release of an eponymous titled album produced by Carlos Alvarez. So, was it worth the wait?
Jackson is a great singer/songwriter who is clearly steeped in the folklore and history of 20th Century American music. His songs cover the Americana from mid-west prairies country music to the dirty city streets of noir jazz and blues. What sets him apart, besides the great music, is a wonderful way with lyrics that makes him a cross between Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Cole Porter (This from Psalm: “It’s amazing that some people cling to Jesus/Like a baby and it’s mother’s breast, to which life’s theories are always pressed/It’s the way to get things off our chest and keep our wounds all neatly dressed/It’s a way to live with life’s behest, while death bestows it’s dark requests/So we tell ourselves that we feel blessed and we try to do our very best/ But it’s abandoning the nest that finally frees us”). He is no mere copyist though. He lets the influences move in him to create something of his own. He has a voice like a prairie dog howling with yearning at the voluptuous moon in a desert of red dust. If you admire any American music of the past hundred years then you will love this guy.
The album covers classic American topics: love, father/son relationships, addictions, alcohol, outlaws, adultery, celebration of life and even a hidden track that sounds like a long lost Dylan song that was recorded in some shotgun shack in the Mississippi Delta.
Jesse Jackson deserves to sell records. This release was worth waiting 6 years for – I just hope I don’t have to wait another 6 years before the next one…
Jesse Jackson’s album is available from iTunes and CD Baby.
This article first appeared in Louder Than War: http://louderthanwar.com/new-band-of-the-day-jesse-jackson/