On 31th March 2017, the steadily rising troubadour Jeb Loy Nichols presents his classic-in-the-making new album “Country Hustle,” via on his own label City Country City andJullian Records. LISTEN
A potent, flavorsome gumbo cooked up from southern soul, country, blues, funk and folk, with a soupçon of hip-hop, dub and 80/90s club sounds, “Country Hustle” is schooled in the past but is resolutely modern in production, featuring collaborations from Andrew Hale, Distance and Nostalgia 77.
Conjuring the spirit of Dr John’s “I Walk On Gilded Splinters” and Bohannon’s “Save Their Souls,” the dark and smokey “Come See Me” premiered today via Under The Radar Magazine who praised the track as “a funky, low swinging invitation to a record.” “Come See Me” was produced by the enigmatic Irish production duo St. Francis Hotel Listen to the track here.
Jeb originally hails from Missouri and has lived in Texas, New York and London. He has a fascinating, Zelig-like story, all of which feeds into his authentic, experience-infused music. He caught an original Sex Pistols show in Texas, danced to Larry Levan at the Paradise Garage and witnessed Bambaataa rock Bronx blocks.
He worked in New York’s Record City, selling obscure James Brown singles to Prince Paul, and Fela Kuti vinyl to Brian Eno and David Byrne – just before they recorded “Remain In Light.”
In London he shared a house with Ari Up from The Slits and Neneh Cherry, and forged a bond with Adrian Sherwood amidst the earth shaking ridims of Jah Shaka’s sound system.
With such a rich and varied musical schooling, it’s unsurprising that, as Uncut (UK) explains, “Nichols has made an art of assembling various musical modes and merrily fashioning his own hybrids”, which Record Collector observes have “a unified aesthetic rather than an engineered synthesis.”
This joining-of-the-dots between genres seemingly unrelated to the casual novice has won Jeb high regard from clued up heads, but has also contributed to his occupying a nebulous space within pigeonhole happy popular music. He has steadfastly ploughed his own furrow, navigating a route around mainstream recognition, at times over rocky terrain.
Which brings us to “Country Hustle,” his highly anticipated full-length album, featuring tracks such as the laid back, late night soul of “Regret” which sets the tone for Jeb’s autobiographical, self-deprecating and honest lyrical style. On “Katie Blue” Jeb channels James Brown and Massive Attack into his own unique, forlorn ode. Balearic boogie blends with Funkadelia and subtle dub flourishes on Jeb’s personal but universal tribute “Long Live The Loser” and on “Maisy Hay” Nichols’ love for Tony Joe White shines through.
His take on Luther Vandross’ “Never Too Much” takes on spiritual pathos and warming charm, with deep fathoms of emotion also apparent on the American gothic meets metallic clang of “That’s All I Want.”
“That’s How We’re Living” is gritty, smokin’ funk akin to Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye, delivered with heavy new sonic clout and a hip hop sensibility. Live favourite “Till The Teardrops Stop” is happy/sad ode to dancing, friendship and drowning sorrows. Equally tear-jerking is the country got soul style “You Got In.”
Those not familiar with Jeb may have unknowingly heard his music on the Oscar nominated soundtrack to Gus Van Sant’s “Good Will Hunting.” Back then, in the Nineties, he was signed to Capitol Records by Gary Gersch – the man who signed Nirvana and Guns N Roses. Somewhat notoriously so, he shunned a life on the road (the approach that was viewed by Capitol as the sole path to success in America) and was subsequently dropped.
But despite a long, sporadic gestation period during which at times Jeb has pursued other interests like writing and art, “Country Hustle” marks the next phase as his most focussed, ramped-up and viable shot at recognition to date.
Following choice prior achievements like a Rough Trade Album Of The Month for “Jeb Loy Nichols Special,” live work with Lucinda Williams and Lambchop, plus his acclaimed “Country Got Soul” compilations, the release earlier this year of his mini album “Ya Smell Me” (alongside the reissue of reggae gem “Long Time Traveller” via On-U Sound) saw Jeb gain widespread acclaim, marking the beginning of what promises to be a new peak for the artist.
“Country Hustle” drops in North America on March 31st, 2017. Pre-order your copy here.
1. Come See Me
2. Maisy Hay
3. Don’t Drop Me
4. I Hate Hate
5. That’s How We’re Living
6. Katie Blue
7. Till the Teardrops Stop
8. Never Too Much
9. That’s All I Want
10. You Got In
12. Long Live the Loser