These Old Nites
Sounding as if he has just left a bar, his breath soaked in alcohol, Junior Jackson has produced a film noir version of Americana. The songs on his debut album unreel themselves like scenes in a movie with Jackson growling in every frame. The picture of the liquor store on the back of the CD is no coincidence, as this is bar music for night owls.
On “Crying Feeling,” Jackson presents himself as a bluesman and a R&B heartbreaker rolled into one, like Robert Cray colliding with Al Green. Except, this is not your father’s blues. There is a postmodern aesthetic at work here; the swirling, transcendent rhythm section has a narcotic effect, producing both catharsis and a strong sense of disorientation. Jackson is taking blues and country music and giving it a bigger beat, closer to hip-hop than the roots rock to which it is paying homage.
For all of its revolutionary turns, the CD is not a gimmick; it doesn’t pillage from the past and give the stolen goods a new set of paint. The contemporary ingredients are subtle, far more than Moby’s experiments with Gospel and techno. Jackson doesn’t say much that is worth quoting; the lyrics aren’t the point here. It’s the feel. And once you’ve hopped aboard his train, there’s no way of getting off.
Pure Fire Records: www.purefirerecords.com