JP Ruggieri “Gradually Descend Into Chaos”

Independent, 2023

Songs of courage and hope arising from chaos.

There is so much to like and admire in this album which is Nashville-based Ruggieri’s second full-length offering. On first listening it feels like a very breezy light album which has the definite sounds of summer with staccato guitars and rhythms giving it a very pleasant Jack Johnson appeal.

That, however, masks the events that led up to and the source of ‘Gradually Descend into Chaos’. It has been borne out of a combination of both a breakup from a long-term relationship and also overcoming a hugely debilitating and painful condition called Trigeminal Neuralgia. Symptoms of which include excruciating nerve pain generated by the movement of the tongue.” I couldn’t even talk or go outside and let the wind hit my face” he remembers “I was just trying to keep my sanity by writing lyrics and poems, playing my guitar, and recording these songs”. Both situations are beautifully summed up in the very simple line…” I need to learn to live without the sun”.

Thankfully after major brain surgery, he has come through this trauma and the album is a testament to both courage, fortitude, and wonderful musicianship. Using influences such as jazz, blues, and folk it is rhythmic groove-based and rootsy Americana.

The songs are very varied in nature as is the tempo and rhythm. The breakup song (one of many) ‘Can’t Wait’ is very melancholic and quite slow in it he says pointedly that he “can’t wait to forget about you”. ‘ Brick Wall’ has a very funky beat, while ‘Without the Sun’, has a distinctive almost ragtime feel about it. Overall, it is a brutally honest, engaging album that has at its heart excellent storytelling and superb musicianship. The accompanying press release with the album states ‘in its totality the songs create a relatable journey, offering a beacon of hope amongst the chaos’. In today’s uncertain times, we all need that. Thoroughly recommended.


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