Jerry Joseph is an old-school rock iconoclast, the type for whom opinionated is a politely remote descriptor, but then fades away into a hail of guitar and the spiked delivery of a particularly on-point lyric. And when he’s on—and with his trio, the Jackmormons, there’s no fear of off—he’s a ferocious live show, like Bruce Springsteen or Tom Petty fronting Crazy Horse, and with a world-weary purview that’s emotional, heavy and leaves just enough room for slivers of optimism. Joseph is above all prolific. He has more than 30 albums to his name and some 250 potent original songs, which will form the bulk of what’s sure to be a barn burner of a set at Rough Trade NYC tomorrow night. This time around, he and his Jackmormons (above, performing “Savage Garden”)—Steven James Wright on bass and Steve Drizos on drums—come slinging Weird Blood (stream it below), Joseph’s third album in as many years with Widespread Panic’s Dave Schools as a shrewd producer. Joseph is the first to admit the Weird Blood songs evoke a time of year and a state of mind. “I rented a tiny house about a mile from my home so I could write but be home for dinner and kid bedtime,” he writes in the album’s accompanying notes. “I ended up writing a fistful of songs. It was cold early January but a perfect place to write. Weird stuff was happening in general, one of those weeks where I had my copy of Black Star and David Bowie died. I tend to do the mad scribble thing when I write.” Indeed, Weird Blood runs the Josephian gamut: “Sweet Baba Jay” and its spooked folk rock, “3-7-77,” which feels like it’s trying to escape from its own untidy blues-rock framework, “Wild Wild West,” a tune of his that’s been around for more than two decades and really unfolds live, and “Think On These Things,” a common Joseph show opener but tender enough an anthemic rock song that it’s willing to let in just enough light to be called uplifting. You’ll get a range of styles, plus snatches of songs from one or more of Joseph’s constellation of influences, from Leonard Cohen to Bob Marley. But most of all you’ll get Joseph, who’s earned the right to be called an original, and if you’re in the right frame of mind, could front the best band in the world on any given night. —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson
Tag Archives: Bob Marley
Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons – Mercury Lounge – April 30, 2017
Jerry Joseph isn’t one to sugarcoat: As longtime friend Widespread Panic bassist (and sometime bandmate) Dave Schools has put it, his music can be “an absolute emotional slaughterhouse.” Which is not to call it dour—a Jerry Joseph show is a master class in old school, highly emotional rock and roll energy—just that when you experience it you’re often in for a scorched-earth kind of evening, no-holds-barred, no-punches-pulled, no-edges-filed-down, no phony sanctimony. He’s an iconoclast, for sure, and the less he seems to care about how some take to his abrasive sentiments, the more his music deepens and becomes more soulful. It can sound ferocious and cynical, tender and fragile, world-wise and world-weary. And he’s crazy prolific. Each time Joseph returns to New York City he’s got new songs that sound of a piece with everything he’s done over a 30-plus-year career—and yet don’t repeat himself.
One of Joseph’s masterstrokes was finding bandmates who could be an extension of this personality and translate it into feral rock—jammy and shape-shifting. The Jackmormons, now again a trio after a stretch as a quartet, returned to Mercury Lounge Sunday night for a rare local long-play, meaning it wasn’t over and done within a tight hour and had ample room to stretch out, welcome friends and do what they do best: rough-scuffed folk rock played at times with Crazy Horse–like abandon and paint-stripping guitar. Whether it was the anthemic, gospel-y “Think on These Things” to open or the roiling “Soda Man” or a long, gnarly jam out of Bob Marley’s “Positive Vibration” that burrowed its way into the metal-scraping “Brother Number One,” every tune took its time, unhurried, and yeah, with incendiary guitar solos, chunky bass and crashing drums but none of it out of place or feeling extra. A lot of bands jam because they want to expand a song with improvisational solos or groupthink, but Jackmormons jams seem to go long because the emotional weight of a lot of this material commands a full workout. As an audience member, you’d rather be drained instead of left too heavy.
This show was a benefit for Joseph’s forthcoming trip to Iraq to work with refugee, cultural and educational organizations—a very Jerry Joseph think to do—and summoned some extra friends to accompany Joseph, bassist Steven James Wright and drummer Steve Drizos. Among them were the sage Mookie Siegel, dappling the music with heavenly organ and piano, and the ace Jamie McLean, bringing a red-meat blues-rock sensibility as a foil for Joseph’s own teeth-bared guitar playing. Especially remarkable was how well both of them became an extension of the Jackmormons, a trio that at times couldn’t seem to possibly hold more personality, and yet, there they were as part of the band, deep in its thrall. Potent stuff, you’d say with a chuckle, like calling an erupting volcano “potent stuff.” —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson
Tags: Bob Marley, Chad Berndtson, Crazy Horse, Dave Schools, Jamie McLean, Jeff Crosby, Jerry Joseph, Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons, Live Music, Lower East Side, Mercury Lounge, Mookie Siegel, Music, New York City, Steve Drizos, Steve James Wright, Widespread Panic
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With a new album, Spacedust & Oceanviews, due to arrive this spring, Anders Osborne (above, performing “Mind of a Junkie” for Jam in the Van) has embarked on a two-month North American tour, which brings him to the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y., on Friday night—a pretty great way to kick off the weekend. And ahead of his arrival, the New Orleans guitar hero answered Five Questions for The House List.
You’ve obviously been living in New Orleans for quite some time now, but how did a kid from Southern Sweden originally get interested in the blues?
I was introduced to music by my mother and father—mostly classical and jazz. I discovered Robert Johnson, Snooks Eaglin, Earl King, Hound Dog Taylor and stuff like that in my teens growing up in New Orleans.
You’re currently in the midst of a big tour, but does performing in New York have any significance for you? And specifically playing the Capitol Theatre?
New York rocks! Some of my all time favorite shows have been in New York. I have a lot of friends from that area that I love seeing when I play there. It’s also one of the first places that gave me gigs as a touring artist back in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Places like Manny’s Car Wash, Tramps, Wetlands. Love it.
What’s different about this tour compared to others that have brought you up here?
This band kicks ass. We will also explore my entire catalog, playing previously not performed tunes. And we have great support artists on the whole tour! Amy Helm [opening on Friday at the Capitol Theatre], American Babies [also opening on Friday], Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds. They are all amazing.
At your after-party and there’s an endless jukebox, and we give you a buck. Which three songs are you playing?
“20 Million Things” by Lowell George, “These Days” by Jackson Browne and “So What” by Miles Davis. —R. Zizmor | @Hand_Dog
Tags: Allen Toussaint, American Babies, Amy Helm, Anders Osborne, Bob Marley, Capitol Theatre, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Earl King, George Porter Jr., Hound Dog Taylor, Jackson Browne, Live Music, Lowell George, Miles Davis, Music, Pink, Preview, Rebirth Brass Band, Robert Palmer, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, Snooks Eaglin, Spacedust & Oceanviews, the Meters
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Laura Mvula – Music Hall of Williamsburg – September 4, 2013
Neo-soul songstress Laura Mvula has quietly made a name for herself across the pond, but she’s recently found admirers Stateside, including NPR’s Stephen Thompson. He wrote, “The U.K. singer’s sonic ambition is boundless: Her intricately layered songs straddle genres, locations and eras in ways that sound entirely original.” If you’re a fan of Jill Scott, Lauryn Hill or Erykah Badu, Mvula should have already filed into your Spotify queue. Her classical training allows her to mold every inflection into a timeless voice that seems to effortlessly narrate romantic epics. She’s the like the James Earl Jones of song telling.
With an introduction of “Like the Morning Dew,” Mvula descended upon the Music Hall of Williamsburg stage last night dressed in a long hooded army green anorak. Armed with a trio of strings, drummer and a harpist, the Brit’s choral-like arrangements filled the cozy venue. She admitted the last time she was there was to see Michael Kiwanuka. Not bad company to keep with their similar soulful repertoire. Mvula kicked off her white heels, performing “Is There Anybody Out There” barefoot before smoothly making the transition into Bob Marley’s “One Love,” with the crowd immediately joining in on the chorus.
Oddly, her delivery of “Sing to the Moon” reminded me of an unrelated artist, Lana Del Rey. Mvula proceeded to perform “Diamonds” and “Father, Father” solo to a completely enamored audience. It was so quiet that only the rustling of the air conditioner could be heard before, picking up the tempo and mood, Mvula got the crowd clapping along to the upbeat “Green Garden.” As though the end were flipped to the beginning of the set, the crescendo-heavy opening of “Make Me Lovely” was worthy of a Bond-film title sequence. Unprepared for an encore, Mvula and her brother, James Douglas, on cello delighted fans with a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature.” While singing “Reaching out/ To touch a stranger,” she received a bouquet of flowers from a fan front and center. It’s safe to say they won’t be her last floral brava. —Sharlene Chiu
Tags: Bob Marley, Erykah Badu, James Douglas, James Earl Jones, Jill Scott, Lana Del Ray, Laura Mvula, Lauryn Hill, Michael Jackson, Michael Kiwanuka, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Review
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