Today, JakeXerxesFussell shares new single, “Michael Was Hearty,” from his forthcoming album,Out of Sight, due June7th via ParadiseofBachelors. Following the lead single, “The River St. Johns,” “Michael Was Hearty” is a gorgeous rendition of a tragicomedy by Irish traveller and ballad singer ThomasMcCarthy. When showed a YouTube video of the song by friend NathanSalsburg, guitar wizard and curator of the Alan Lomax Archive, Fussell was inspired to arrange and record his own version.
“I immediately wanted to commit the words to memory, but I had to come up with another way to perform it that worked for my way of singing,” says Fussell. “So I worked out a waltz arrangement on my guitar and taught it to my band. Some great imagery in there too: ‘High was the step in the jig that he sprung / He had good looks and soothering tongue’—don’t we all know somebody like that?” Listen to “Michael Was Hearty”-
Alongside the new single, Paradise of Bachelors also presents a Springtime-themed companion playlist toOut of Sight, curated by Fussell. Stream the playlist here via Spotify.
For Out of Sight, Fussell’s third and most finely wrought album yet, he is joined for the first time by a full band, featuring NathanBowles (drums), CaseyToll (bass), NathanGolub (pedal steel), LibbyRodenbough (violin, vocals), and JamesAnthonyWallace (piano, organ). An utterly transporting selection of traditional narrative folk songs addressing the troubles and delights of love, work, and wine (i.e., the things that matter), collected from a myriad of obscure sources and deftly metamorphosed, Out of Sight contains, among other moving curiosities, a fishmonger’s cry that sounds like an astral lament (“The River St. Johns”); a cotton mill tune that humorously explores the unknown terrain of death and memory (“Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues”); and a fishermen’s shanty/gospel song equally concerned with terrestrial boozing and heavenly transcendence (“Drinking of the Wine”). Listen “The River St. Johns” —