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Jake Xerxes Fussell - Jake Xerxes Fussell (2015)

Rock, Blues Rock, Folk | Author: artmuss | 2-02-2015, 11:01
Jake Xerxes Fussell - Jake Xerxes Fussell (2015)
Artist: Jake Xerxes Fussell
Title Of Album: Jake Xerxes Fussell
Year Of Release: 2015
Label: Paradise of Bachelors / PoB-17
Genre: Country, Folk, Blues
Total Time: 38:46 min
Format: FLAC (tracks +.cue, log-file)
Quality: Lossless
Total Size: 223 mb

"The Southern half of the Georgia-Alabama border follows the Chattahoochee River, which cleaves Columbus, Georgia from its decidedly less reputable neighbor, Phenix City, Alabama. Georgia’s second city is the hometown of “Mother of the Blues” Ma Rainey and novelist Carson McCullers, but it was local hillbilly duo Darby and Tarlton’s 1927 hit “Columbus Stockade Blues” that first immortalized Columbus in popular culture. Back in their day, if you ended up in lockup in Columbus, chances are you did your dirtiest deeds across the river. Historically rife with vice of every conceivable variety—gambling, prostitution, moonshining, and endemic corruption and violence perpetrated by both gangs and police—the notoriously anarchic Phenix City was once known as “The Wickedest City in America.”

A similar frontier liminality and skewed sense of place characterize the music of Durham, North Carolina singer and guitarist Jake Xerxes Fussell, whose self-titled debut record, produced by and featuring William Tyler, transmutes ten arcane folk and blues tunes into vibey cosmic laments and crooked riverine rambles. Jake Xerxes (yes, that’s his real middle name, after Georgia potter D.X. Gordy) grew up in Columbus, son of Fred C. Fussell, a folklorist, curator, and photographer who hails from America’s Wickedest City. Fred’s fieldwork took him, often with young Jake in tow, across the Southeast documenting traditional vernacular culture, which included recording blues and old-time musicians with fellow folklorists and recordists George Mitchell and Art Rosenbaum (which led Jake to music, and to some of the songs herein) and collaborating with American Indian artists (which led Jake eventually to his graduate research on Choctaw fiddlers.)

As a teenager Jake began playing and studying with elder musicians in the Chattahoochee Valley, apprenticing with Piedmont blues legend Precious Bryant (“Georgia Buck”), with whom he toured and recorded, and riding wild with Alabama bluesman, black rodeo rider, rye whiskey distiller, and master dowser George Daniel (“Rabbit on a Log”). He joined a Phenix City country band who were students of Jimmie Tarlton of Darby and Tarlton; he accompanied Etta Baker in North Carolina; he moved to Berkeley, where he hung with genius documentary filmmaker Les Blank and learned from Haight folkies like Will Scarlett (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna, Brownie McGhee) and cult fingerstyle guitarist Steve Mann (“Push Boat”); he appeared on A Prairie Home Companion. He did a whole lot of listening, gradually honing his prodigious guitar skills, singing, and repertoire. In 2005 he moved to Oxford, Mississippi, where he enrolled in the Southern Studies department at Ole Miss, recorded and toured with Rev. John Wilkins, and, last year, met up with acclaimed artist William Tyler to begin recording his first solo album.


1. "All in Down and Out" 3.14
2. "Let Me Lose" 5.06
3. "Star Girl" 4.04
4. "Raggy Levy" 4.00
5. "Rabbit on a Log" 3.11
6. "Boat's up the River" 4.05
7. "Man at the Mill" 3.10
8. "Push Boat" 5.47
9. "Georgia Buck" 2.07
10. "Pork and Beans" 4.02

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