New Band Of The Day: Jesse Jackson

Jesse Jackson – Jesse Jackson (Self Released)
Out Now

The new album from Americana artist Jesse Jackson has been one that Mark Ray has been waiting for since ages ago. The question is does it live up to his expectations? Read on to find out.

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 Myspace but no releases. The CD must have been a homemade affair. The songs I heard on Myspace delighted me, and the performances on YouTube 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.

Jesse Jackson’s website is here.

All words Mark Ray. More Louder Than War features by Mark can be read here.

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