Buckle up, dear KMA Readers, for here we honour one of our own!
Yes, the brilliant J. of Resurrection Songs has a band, and they make albums! Through the negotiations over payment for the Grail List Neko Case record I found for him and sent across the pond to him, he sent me Jim Dead’s album and EP! I cannot even begin to express my excitement over this. I’d heard a couple of tracks on their web site, but to have the full CDs here is a gift indeed!
Jim Dead – Ten Fires (2011)
Scrolling through the radio stations to static and then the acoustic strums of intro track Silence Has No Place Here show us promise. Bone Blue Moon brings the rock to mirror the opener, and its pull is infectious. Deep and bluesy, an ambling pace that perfectly suits (my lovely wife rightly pointed out that it has a train quality to it. Hear it and you’ll know what she means!). I absolutely love the chorus, that brief raise of voice, aw yeah! “Tonight I’m a gamblin’ man,” indeed!
Before I Die slows things down and cranks up the bluesy menace. Holy man, this song has weight! Don’t be fooled by the pretty guitar arpeggios, this song has an atmosphere all to itself and it’s a beautiful thing. I love how the ride cymbal picks up just as his voice goes for the yell… Up next is a tune I’d pick for a single, Coffee And Cocaine. What makes the day bearable? You guessed it! Oh man, it’s a brilliant acoustic guitar tune that, if you heard it in a coffee shop or at an open mic night in a pub, you’d laugh and hoot along and swear it was the best tune you’d heard all night.
Jim Landstrom Must Die is darkly humourous, swingin’ and stompin’ it’s way through a gut-bucket blues about poor old Jim. What a riff! I don’t know what Jim did to deserve his fate, but if this song was playing while he was done for, it’d be hard to be too upset about it. Tom Waits would love this one. Up next is Hotel, which brings back the acoustic guitar, picked beautifully, and a harmonica! This is a gorgeous, quieter tune. My Heavy Heart, My Aching Bones is a folk gem. I love the slide guitar here, and when the picking acoustic hits that low note it resonates beautifully. It’s way too short, though, at only 1:25. I’m just greedy, maybe.
Wreck Of A Ship’s contemplative lyrics and gentle acoustic make this one of my favourites on the album. Deceptively simple, this tune has incredible depths. When it breaks down to just the vocals, my jaw drops every time. This would be another pick for single, if I had a say! I’ve actually already added this tune to a CD-R mix of tunes for the car. It sounds great in there too! Up next is Untitled, which slinks its way gently into being with a great (great!) guitar line, and when that bass picks up, oh my. It’s not in any hurry, and that’s just fine by me! This is another Tom Waits tune in disguise, totally addictive.
Mean-Eyed River Snake swings so brilliantly, the blues just drips from it. The drums, that guitar solo, the lyrics, that breakdown at the end… I love the chuckle at 3:57. It’s just perfect, all around. …Are You Still Listening brings back the acoustic instrospection beauty. The songwriting here is among the best I’ve heard in ages (and the whole album through). Listen to those lyrics. Yes! I am still listening! I’m still there! And finally, it’s The Hallelujah Revolver, which by itself has one of the best song titles in forever. The electric picks up the acoustic’s role here, which adds an energy and sustain to the riff. But then it all falls down to just vocals before hitting the build and then that wail for the pay-off… Have I mentioned before about how the songwriting here is brilliant?
This. This is a cohesive, brilliant piece of work. This is authentic, dusty, bluesy beauty. This is going down as one of my favourite new-to-me albums of 2015. And I’m not just saying that because J.’s in our blogging community. No. This CD is THAT fucking good. Wow. WOW.