Jared Dustin “Battle Cry Mercy”

Independent, 2023

Soul-searching solo debut from gruff-voiced troubadour.

Life’s challenges and tribulations so often imbue musicians’ songs – a life richly experienced is bound to bring a sense of reality and meaning to any songwriter’s material. And so it is with Jared Dustin who, as with so many artists had to cope with the limitations of Covid together with his personal difficulties. He’s long had addiction and mental health problems, and the power of making music has been redemptive for him in many ways.

Those expecting a dour and doom-laden debut album will be pleasantly surprised as this solid collection of ten songs is often a light-hearted and positive listen. Dustin’s got a lovely throaty vocal style and it serves him really well throughout this collection. Album highlight is ‘Bleed You Away’ which starts in a plaintive mood as Dustin’s hoarse voice soars above guitar and pedal steel and choice background vocals to a wonderful tune, augmented by some lovely piano work. There are apparently 22 musicians who helped Dustin on this album – and most of them must appear on this track – it’s fantastic.

Opener ‘My Name Is Cannonball‘ has organ, harmonica and fiddle backing Dustin from the outset and it’s another effective, highly personal acoustic song. The upbeat ‘Sweet Ol’ Loneliness’ is another example of Dustin challenging his past in a song relishing isolation. ‘Bottle On The Store’ confronts the difficulties he knows is ahead, dealing with his alcohol problems.

Dustin has been making music for over twenty years in various bands and touring extensively. He’s managed to amass an impressive set of songs for his debut solo release and his voice is particularly powerful. A strong and interesting album.


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