JAKE XERXES FUSSELL
ANNOUNCES NEW ALBUM WHAT IN THE NATURAL WORLD
OUT MARCH 31 ON PARADISE OF BACHELORS
LISTEN TO DEBUT SINGLE “HAVE YOU EVER SEEN PEACHES GROWING ON A SWEET POTATO VINE?” (feel free to share)
Durham, North Carolina singer and guitarist Jake Xerxes Fussell has announced his second full-length album, What in the Natural World, to be released March 31st on Paradise of Bachelors. Today he shares the debut single from the LP, a beautifully rollicking version of the traditional song “Have You Ever Seen Peaches Growing on a Sweet Potato Vine?”. In their premiere NPR noted that; “Fussell’s burly, winking voice is made for storytelling.”
“’Peaches’ stuck with me since the first time I heard it,” explains Fussell. He continues, “Something about the absurdity of the lyrics but also this sort of serene, rhythmic approach to guitar playing. A lot of the blues guitar playing from southwest Georgia has this serene, droning quality. I don’t know how to explain it, really, but it’s very syncopated and can be quite powerful if you can learn how to get it going.”
Fussell’s What in the Natural World feels several shades darker, and unsettlingly funnier, than his William Tyler-produced debut, and you need only look around at the US’ current predicament for clues as to why. Since his debut release, Jake has played across the US, opening for Wilco, dueting with Tyler, and touring with Mt. Moriah, Nathan Bowles, and Daniel Bachman (with shows planned in the UK/EU for Spring 2017). The territory he’s traversed, for many of his fellow citizens, doesn’t brook much hope.
This time around Fussell has sourced his repertoire from beyond his primary Southeastern U.S. foraging grounds, including songs from the Southwest and even Wales. He encounters monsters, literal and figurative, everywhere in this landscape of loss and longing. Unlike his debut, the majority of these songs are not nominally traditional. Many are attributed to specific artists, both canonical (Duke Ellington) and obscure (Helen Cockram), and all are recast in vibrant, assured recordings that elide genres and dissolve the false binaries of tradition and innovation, folk and modern, old and new. Throughout, Fussell poses Natural Questions in the form of transmogrified folk/blues koans. These nine elliptical riddles, spare but sturdy, driven by Jake’s limpid guitar and understated singing, both absorb and reflect the conditions of their listeners, refusing to offer easy answers.
Recorded by Jason Meagher (Steve Gunn, Michael Chapman) in Orange Co., New York, and by Nick Petersen (Mt. Moriah) in Orange Co., North Carolina, What in the Natural World features contributions from three notable Nathans—Bowles (Steve Gunn), Salsburg (Joan Shelley, Alan Lomax Archive), and Golub (Mountain Goats)—as well as Joan Shelley and Casey Toll (Mt. Moriah).
Listen to Jake Xerxes Fussell’s “Have You Ever Seen Peaches Growing on a Sweet Potato Vine?”
and via Spotify:
What in the Natural World tracklisting:
01. Jump For Joy
02. Have You Ever Seen Peaches Growing on a Sweet Potato Vine?
03. Pinnacle Mountain Silver Mine
04. Furniture Man
05. Bells of Rhymney
06. Billy Button
08. St. Brendan’s Isle
09. Lowe Bonnie
Pre-order What in the Natural World:
Bandcamp (all formats): http://bit.ly/2jBoajv
Digital (MP3/streaming): http://smarturl.it/PoB031
Jake Xerxes Fussell online:
PoB Artist page: http://www.paradiseofbachelors.com/jake-xerxes-fussell