Monday, March 28, 2016

CD: J. JEFFREY MESSEROLE - Kingsnake's Bite

Kingsnake's Bite
Kingsnake's Bite - Cheap Pillows - Cross The Cumberland - Life Is A Zoo Blues - The Pistol & The Flowers - Slow Dance Through A Burning Field - Widow To The Harvest - East Brooklyn Tabernacle Blues - Cut My Teeth, Warm My Hands - Wings Of Red
J. Jeffrey Messerole is very difficult to categorize.  He's his own man, and even though I had some difficult 'hearing' all he was singing, saying, extrapolating, and certainly sharing, listening to this poet-songwriter present his words, ideas, stories, and dreams was an adventure to say the least.  Jeffrey, believe it or not, is a real-deal folk singer from Iowa.  Not knowing the musicians present during the session, I'm assuming that Jeffrey is playing acoustic rhythm guitar, however there is some additional pickin' and playin' that emphasizes the strange differences that Jeffrey feels when he is in his music mode.  In "Life Is A Zoo Blues" there's a very nice resonator guitar adding to this very distinctive bluesy song, my favorite on this album.  This single song takes me back to Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers.  That same sincere, individual 'soul' approach to a 'story' in a song with 'blues' attached as the reason for its existence.  Some good harmony work throughout this album, and an occasional additional interesting musical instrument, like the harmonica along with the resonator guitar on "Slow Dance Through a Burning Field." Since I knew Moses Asch really well, and recorded six albums for him on Folkways (now part of the Smithsonian), I found Jeffrey's "East Brooklyn Tabernacle Blues" very reminiscent of some of those early Folkways artists, this song in particular where he sounds like two different voices, it takes me directly to Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee some incredible blues singers of the 20's.  It is so nice to hear this again, super.  All of these songs are originals by Jeffrey who writes from experience, about himself and the lives of his close friends.  I, like Moses Asch would have thought, consider him a kind of modern American folk storyteller.  He very easily paints a picture with words expressed in musical thought. Nicely done Jeffrey, I'm glad you're from Iowa, 'real' folk music is still alive thanks to you.
for Country Music News International Magazine
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