Jesse Terry

Natural

(Jackson Beach Records)

This collection finds singer-songwriter Terry featuring many female singers is a set of duets. I recall the great Tony Joe White doing this a few years ago and it resulted in one of his best ever albums. Jesse plays guitar and includes several class players on these various recordings. In passing, the artwork and presentation of the disc is evocative and charming with its elemental motifs and views. Sound production here is helmed by Josh Kaler.

Kick-off cut Kaleidoscope (with Sarah Darling) takes a gentle path over sparse chording on the guitar. Terry’s airy cottonwool voice is tuneful and Darling adds a sharp harmony part that keeps everything floating. If you can imagine Art Garfunkel singing a McCartney melody that is how it sounds, to this listener. The band sound is kept simple and supportive, with steel guitar slivers here and there. The voices do blend well. Next up is Runaway Town (with Cary Ann Hearst) has pretty cadence to it, that small-town talespinning vibe unleashed. The acoustic guitar is a tad busy for my taste but sets the tempo adequately. Hearst sounds fine on this one, the song reminds me of early Rodney Crowell.

Mr Blue Sky (with Liz Longley) IS the ELO tune. In this countrified setting it sounds very personal. Longley adds a cool harmony part. The melody is rendered close to the original. Some electric 12-string would have sounded great on this one. Then on to Stargazer (with Dar Williams) which is pretty much a lullaby. The ghost of McCartney smiles. The backdrop is kept ethereal and Williams adds her lovely voice to great effect. Looking Close Enough (with Annie Clements) is delivered over a light pattering tempo, the voice breathy and melodic. A minute in, the band sound solidifies as the lyric goes its whispery way. Sounds like a like performance pick, just from this. Clements adds a high vocal. A charming composition and one of the best in this collection. Melody upfront again on Beautiful Way To Get Home (with Erin Rae). Rae, too has an exquisite touch that enhances this number. Beautifully melancholic cello here, too.

Carry (with Kim Richey) rides a defined chordal pattern and has superior lyrics. I Was An Island (with Kim Richey) is slow and steady, with wobbly electric guitar, a very stately sound it is too. Noise (with Dar Williams) is another touching performance and effectively presented. A strong inclusion in the programme.

Mountain Rose (with Cary Ann Hearst) is a tale of keen drinkers, the melody sounding very familiar. Close My Eyes (with Liz Longley) is next with well-recorded acoustic guitar and for me the most enduring song in the programme. Natural the title track for the album closes the programme is a brisker tune, but no Under My Wheels ! The delivery is confident and ends the record with a positive vibe.

For variety, the album could have done with some rockier material and arrangements. But as a set of peaceful songs, sung with no histrionics and harmonies aplenty, all the darts are hitting the board, here. I could never stand Cat Stevens’ tremulous vocals, but if you loved Tea For Tillerman’s tunes, this may be your stop…

Pete Sargeant



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(Thanks to Jo)

Jesse Terry’s new album ‘Natural’ is released on Friday 30th March 2018 on Jackson Beach Records.

For more information visit his official website here: http://bit.ly/2G7WRIu

 

Jesse Terry