Jesse Woods: Get Your Burdens Lifted (Guns In The Sun Records)
DL / LP / CD
Austin’s burgeoning lo-fi folk champion Jesse Woods released his debut album, Get Your Burdens Lifted, a few weeks ago. Ian Critchley is a fan – and here’s his review.
Just from listening to opener ‘Walk Along Cattle Drives’ it’s clear that Jesse’s sound is that of a very traditional country style. Apart from the tracks title the use of slide guitars, relaxed vocals and straightforward drum beats gives the entire record that home-spun farming town feel. This may sound like a style that doesn’t necessarily fit into the modern music scene but there has been a resurgence of country music recently with mainstream artists such as Brad Paisley and Rascal Flatts, and also from more underground musicians like Austin Lucas.
Jesse Woods doesn’t seem to fit with these more mainstream artists however. The disdain in the vocals makes Woods more of an anti-hero character for modern country, with his sound having all the sadness and torment of the darkest of The Eels more country-esque tracks.
The production on the record seems to find that fine line between professional and raw. It doesn’t have the squeaky clean sound of other over-polished turds of the same genre, nor is it such a rough sound that it becomes barely audible. It seems to have been an effort to put it together in a small studio with a team of competent engineers, guys who have done wonders in capturing the haunted feel of Jesse’s music.
There’s not a lot that can be said about the record, really. It isn’t so bizarre and experimental that it’s going to change the genre from this point forward, but there’s definitely a uniqueness about it that sets it apart from other country records. What Jesse has managed to do is take elements from outside of the box and implement them into a tried and true formula. Take for example ‘Lazerburn’ and ‘Danger in the Dancehall’ both of which have a distinctive folk feel to it, ala Iron and Wine, while still maintaining the cowboy ethos through it’s whiskey soaked lyrical content.
What can be said about Get Your Burdens Lifted is this: If you like country music, you’re probably gonna dig this. If you think cowboy boots and Stetsons are ridiculous, then you probably won’t.
All words by Ian Critchley. More work by Ian on Louder Than War can be found here.