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Based in Savannah, Georgia, where the Spanish moss hangs from ancient oaks like long torn veils, Jefferson Ross employs his unique acoustic guitar style and southern, soulful voice to spin some of the finest story songs to come out of Deep Dixie in a long while.
His new album is Isle of Hope – imagine a twisted world populated with voodoo doctors…old, blind bluesmen dying in the insane asylum…cannabis craving mommies selling Tupperware…dustbowl farmers… Bible characters and Siamese twins…winos…cops…murderers and hookers on the run…shamans… preachers and voices from the grave.
In fact just about everything we love in a record. Take the sweetly picked opener, Two Horses:
“I saw him there sitting on the stairs, that sad old whiskey priest
With a bible in his hand and bottle at his feet
He hung his head, just like he wore a halo made of stone
And said “Brother, I’m just trying to make it home…but…”
The lyrics shine throughout this wonderful album like jewels in coal dust, in Family Drama, Ross sings over an gentle bluesy refrain:
“My sister’s wedding ring is missing, now her son got caught shoplifting
Someone saw her daughter kissing her teacher last week
And there’s Uncle Jim and Uncle Tim who were sadly born Siamese Twins
Now Jim just voted Republican…now they don’t speak”
In the gorgeously melancholic, reflective ballad Blind Willie Goes Home, Ross imagines the old bluesman having to “drown out the screams that echo down the hallways of hellish dreams” of the asylum where he is incarcerated. In People Posting Pictures, he offers a sad, yet searing, indictment of the pointlessness of much of our social media obsessions, likening the endless stream of self publicity and banal images to a modern day hell.
Isle of Hope is a stunning record, made for watching the sunset on the back porch. Songs of sorrow, of sly humour, of hope, faith and redemption sit side by side in a near perfect collection of sparsely beautiful Americana.
It is out on the 6th August. Pre-order from his website here.
Download Jefferson Ross – Two Horses mp3 (from Isle Of Hope)Follow @madmackerel