Nicholas Jamerson “Peace Mountain”

Independent, 2023

A very good country and Appalachian album with great songs and excellent vocals throughout.

artwork for Nicholas Jamerson album "Peace Mountain"This is an assured album – 14 songs and an additional 3 tracks of Dialogue. The dialogue tracks may not satisfy those wanting to hear the music, especially given the first track ‘Intro’ is 7 minutes long. Once the music gets going though with ‘Bad Imagination’ you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve veered into a Willie Nelson album given the similarities in the voices. It is no wonder that Rolling Stone has regarded Jamerson as “one of the best singers in the genre.”

It should be pointed out that this Kentucky-born singer-songwriter is about 60 years younger than ‘Willie”. On ‘Bad Imagination’ the catchy opening chorus is very laid back and sets the tone in the main for the album’s music tracks. Tasteful strings riff and mandolin instrumentation in the solo complement the fabulous singing. This is a song about thinking too much and what it can do to you.

“I’m letting my bad imagination get the best of me
Lost in a daydream”

‘Billy Graham Parkway’, a song written by his late friend Allun Cormier who passed away 12 years ago, is a real gem: intimate and sublime with a beautiful harmony vocal throughout. This was the lead single from the album and an excellent choice.

“There was a three-car pile-up
On Billy Graham Parkway
Ya know salvation, it don’t come for free
Was the money you made
Worth the price that you paid
Selling Jesus on cable TV”

There are so many positives to enjoy from this record. It sounds loose and uncomplicated which is part of the joy. Songs like ‘Holler Child’, and ‘Hang On’ are timeless in the sense that they could have been written and recorded years ago in a different age. Between verses and choruses, the musicianship is a joy, violin and guitar lines popping out as if by instinct rather than preplanned or rehearsed. The most commercial and contemporary track is ‘Watching the Fires Burn’. With a more modern sound production, this would top the Country charts. Jamerson’s vocals excel on this track.

‘I Love Blue’, is a beautiful song that features a stunning vocal from Magnolia Boulevard – however it feels completely out of place on this album. It is more akin to Boz Scaggs and has a ‘Rainy Night in Georgia’ feel to it that doesn’t sit well with the timeless country feel of the other tracks, but is a cracking song all the same. ‘Mr Buzzard’ and its Appalachian feel is another stand-out, as is the title track ‘Peace Mountain’.

There are a few minor gripes. Why spoil a perfectly good song in ‘Wild Nights, Weird Mornings’ with poor ghostly backing vocals and studio gimmicks? There is a tendency to overuse dodgy reverb effects on occasion. The same goes for ‘Strangers’ with its crowd noises and ‘This Ain’t Supposed to Happen’ which is touching, but the producer has overdone the reverb effects here too as well as on ‘Wild One‘. ‘Wild Night Intro’ on the other hand is a superfluous track. A little bit of editing and adjustment here and there would have made this so much a better album but don’t be put off. There is class here throughout to enjoy.


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