Darren Jessee “The Jane Room 217” (Bar/None Records, 2018)

For much of his career, North Carolina’s Darren Jessee has contented himself with standing (or, more accurately – drumming) at the edge of the spotlight. Excerpts from his resume include: member of Hiss Golden Messenger, contributor to The War on Drugs’ ‘A Deeper Understanding’ and co-writer of Ben Folds Five’s biggest hit ‘Brick.’ ‘The Jane Room 217,’ though, represents his first foray under his own name. The genesis of the project was a series of Jessee’s demos mixed by long-time collaborator Alan Weatherhead. Continue reading “Darren Jessee “The Jane Room 217” (Bar/None Records, 2018)”

JP Harris “Sometimes Dogs Bark at Nothing” (Free Dirt Records 2018)

For this, his third full-length album, JP Harris has enlisted the production skills of Morgan Jahnig (Old Crow Medicine Show) to help capture some of his life stories. JP’s had a rootless existence, with a background resembling that of a latter-day hobo. But what of the music? The album’s songs can best be classed as country tales for the workingman. Harris has spoken passionately about the blue-collar nature of his genre and themes of love, loss and hardship proliferate. While such topics are ubiquitous in mainstream country, they are rarely presented in a style as believable as that evident herein. The artist – it should be noted – still works a regular job as a Nashville carpenter, which perhaps serves to explain the undeniable authenticity he brings to this selection; at times his vocal timbre has echoes of Joe Ely and John Prine. Continue reading “JP Harris “Sometimes Dogs Bark at Nothing” (Free Dirt Records 2018)”