Jesse delivers his second single today – “De-pression” – a deceptively upbeat earworm of a tune (performed exclusively by Jenkins) that finds him contemplating impermanence, asking “what happens when you lost the time, that you had before?”. Gorilla vs. Bear debuted the track describing it as “a tender, woozy gem that confronts bleak realities…a valiant attempt to find beauty and maybe even a faint glimmer of hope in the darkness.
Hard Sky is the anomalous solo debut of Corpus Christi, TX based Jesse Jerome Jenkins V (Pure X). Whereas Pure X wrote their languid songs as a unit of shared consciousness, Hard Sky is a remarkably singular effort that puts the singer and multi-instrumentalist on full display from the inside out. Hard Sky is a direct expression of Jenkins’ bleak, yet playful, personal creative attitude; all narrated and guided by his unmistakable buoyant vocals.
Unabashedly American in its roots, Hard Sky utilizes and completely rarefies aspects of country, R&B, folk, blues, and minimalist-jazz, all coalesced into a modern, approachable formation. Life’s impossibly dark moments are given levity with an unattached restraint and maturity across the album as Jenkins watches his thoughts, losses, joys, and existential-crises pass over the horizon like clouds in the sky. Both lyrically and musically, it’s almost as if Jenkins is simultaneously laughing at life’s inevitable struggles while accepting that he is barely hanging on.
Though largely a personal affair, Jesse is joined on Hard Sky by long-time collaborator Austin Youngblood (Pure X) on drums, percussion, and sax, Kyle Dixon (S U R V I V E) with live-processing, synthesizers, and effects, and Daniel Aged (Inc. No World) on eloquently played pedal steel guitar. Additional contributions from Malcolm Elijah on grand piano, Memo Guerra on B3 organ, mixing help from Stephen Orsak, and a guitar performance from Matty Tommy Davidson (Pure X) round out Hard Sky‘s cast of characters as a legitimate creative-family reunion.
Hard Sky is out June 23 via Uniform Group – the very first release for the label. Vinyl is limited to 500 copies and will be available on CD and all digital retailers. Pre-order now.