CD Review: JEFFERSON ROSS - Live At Hillbilly Haiku

Live At Hillbilly Haiku
Two Horses - Arvin - Slap It On - Soul Is Made Of Broken Things - Dunwoody Train - Trying Not To Lose My Mind - House Of The Lord - Family Drama - Isle Of Hope - 77 Lime Green Cadillac Hearse - Confederate Jasmine - Yesterday's Paper - Stories - Not The Thunder
Georgia folksinger and world traveler Jefferson Ross is a passionate writer and singer of his works.  It's not often that a songwriter is also a good singer, and even more, a terrific guitarist.  Folk music has taken many turns and twists in its road of existence, but I believe from my early days of watching Bob Dylan's fans walk out on him at his McCormick Place concert in Chicago when he switched to electric instrumentation, they were really lamenting the obvious turn of a very delightful and listenable musical genre lose its identity. One of the things Jefferson Ross does so well on this 'live' recording is bringing that original folk music purpose back to life.  He uses delightful words, terrific guitar picking, and a sensible sane super voice to glue it all together.   Every song ever written has a story behind it, from Kenny Rogers to Hank Williams.  Jefferson has stories about his songs too, one of the advantages of listening to a 'live' presentation.  The listener gets 'all' of the show, not just part of it.  The home concert location he chose to make this recording is in Nashville, and is called simply 'Hillbilly Haiku.'  The large audience is definitely a part of this recording, and Jefferson has the professional 'wit' to understand that, and capitalize on it.  What a delight to listen to the 'real deal' in folk music again.  It would be difficult for me to dissect each and every song Jefferson writes, or how he shares it, but it is incredibly unique and incredibly well done.  I particularly like "Soul Is Made Of Broken Things" a very nicely observant revelation, a passing of the thoughts and dreams of those who succeed completely in their life-long pursuits, and unfortunately those that spend a lifetime chasing a dream but never finding it.  It's the human condition, and Jefferson Ross has a very nice way of writing, explaining, and defining what 'real' folk music is all about these days.  Jefferson Ross uses many colors to paint his images of words full of passion, and notes on guitar strings played with the same long-time tried and true representations of what a beautiful guitar can sound like behind the words so meaningful to so many.  Folk music has been around for a long long time, and it sure has taken some side-roads turning into a very different genre of music, but it seems like in America, there's always a dedicated artist that can still keep that original, deeply meaningful sense of feeling, alive and well. Top of the day to Jefferson Ross.  I'm going to forward this CD to the Rural Roots Music Commission who are still looking for top-notch folk music and music-makers to award their CD of the Year selections.  The expiration date for this year is just about upon me, but I'll get this one in before the deadline.
RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART, President, National Traditional Music Assn., for Country Music News International

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