THE EDUCATION OF A WANDERING MAN - JAMESTOWN REVIVAL
LCM ALBUM OF THE WEEK
Release Date: 7th October, 2016
Genre: Indie-rock with a southern slant
Band Members: Jonathan Clay & Zach Chance
Location: Austin, Texas. USA
Record Label: Republic Records/Universal Music Group
We have been big fans of Jonathan and Zach aka Jamestown Revival for a while now, ever since we heard their great single 'California (Cast Iron Soul) from their super debut album 'Utah' released in 2014. Strangely the first time we heard the track was on the very good Laurel Canyon Radio based in California. Their second album 'The Education Of A Wandering Man' is beautifully crafted. Jonathan and Zach write songs about everyday life that are a combination of lush harmonies that merge Southern Country, Americana, Blues, Gospel and Western rock. On some of the songs there is a real echo of the great Laurel Canyon bands like the Eagles and CSNY. It's also very infectious and catchy album with the same quality songwriting and trademark harmonies as 'Utah' and it's one you will definitely have on repeat.
Zach Chance and Jonathan Clay grew up together in Magnolia and collaborated on their first song at the age of 15. Each launched solo singer-songwriter careers and were on tour as individual artists who would sing harmonies on each other's work. It was decided to form a band with harmonies at the forefront as it a generated positive audience response. Jamestown Revival was formed in 2010 as a duo and expanded to a five-member band. The name Jamestown Revival was derived from one of the first United States settlements, Jamestown, Virginia, homage to Creedence Clearwater Revival and the concept of leaving behind the old and starting anew. The band wrote music they wanted to hear rather than what appealed to the masses using the music they listened to as a gauge of quality of their work. The band's music inspirations come from storytellers of adventure such as Louis L'Amour, Willie Nelson and John Prine as well as nature and simplicity. Jamestown Revival's first album, 'Utah', was named for the band's recording location in the Wasatch mountains, Utah where while living in a cabin they used minimal recording studio equipment to create a unique style.The band's move from Texas to California inspired their song California (Cast Iron Soul). This new album was recorded and mixed by Ryan Lipman at The Lago Vista Farmhouse At Casa Whiskey in Austin Texas.
“It’s about looking back on all the miles we’ve travelled over the past few years, and our fondness of the memories we’ve made,” explains Clay. “We knew our time on the West Coast was never permanent, and this song talks about the heart-warming thought of returning back to the hill country. We're learning a lot of the answers as we go, and this album is a snapshot of our observations and learnings over the past four years. Our education has been gained not in a classroom, but in our experience. It's a trial-by-fire, haphazard sort of process, but there's rarely a dull moment. This album details 'The Education of a Wandering Man,' and we named the album as such. It plays like a late night drive after one of our shows, shuffling through our highs, our lows, and everything in between. Much in the same way we recorded UTAH, we recorded The Education of a Wandering Man in a farmhouse outside of Austin. We did our best to convert the living room into a studio, and we locked ourselves away in the Hill Country. No 'producer,' no fancy setup, just 6 friends playing and recording music. We sincerely hope you enjoy" (Jonathan & Zach).
The album starts with the very infectious toe-tapper and almost retro Blues Rock 'Company Man'. "Why or why don't you leave me alone.....you keep on taking and taking...until you take me down right down to the bone"
One the the album's standout tracks is the excellent 'Love is A Burden' a gritty and perfectly unpolished track reminding me of the Black Keys, with an added country twist thrown in for good measure. The song features some great vintage guitar tones, a locked-in bass and drum groove that's soulful and rocking with plenty of classic reverb. 'Love is a Burden' is the first single from our new album. At first listen it sounds like a song about love. For us, it's a song about the difficulty of letting go of the past. In constantly comparing ourselves to our past achievements and connections, we were hindering our own forward motion. Be it a relationship, a past accomplishment, or a regret, we had to come to the realization that it was doing us absolutely no good to dwell on our past. 'Love is a Burden' is about letting go and looking ahead. (Jonathan and Zach)
With an organ intro the retro 'Laurel Canyon' feel continues in personal 'Journeyman', almost echoing the songwriting and harmonies of the Eagles and CSNY. An instant classic. A convertible driving in the desert kind of song.
'All hell broke loose' in the 'American Dream' a fun barn-dance style toe-tapping track with a reverb heavy slide guitar. Next up the Country Soul Stax style 'Airliner', a story of live on the road touring....always 'Trying to find my way back home'. The confessional 'Always Been Wild' has some great lap steel with a very good sing-a-long chorus "I've always been wild, I've always been free.... I can't seem to keep this trouble for following me". More great pedal steel on 'Back To Austin' a song about heading home to Texas, missing hill country and finding the promised land. "I lost my mind just keeping time, raising hell with a five piece band'. The catchy Blues Soul 'Midnight Hour' would sit very happily on a Blues Brothers soundtrack. Another song about missing and trying to get back home. Soul and rock filled southern gospel is at the core of the reflective 'Poor Man's Gold' a song about the perils of ambition, fame and money.
The mood slows for the tender acepella love song 'Almost All The Time' underpinned by gentle organ and bass. Trademark harmonies from Jonathan and Zach on the break up song 'Done Me Wrong' "I ain't got time to be lonely, no time to moan, no time to worry...Time is money and all my money is gone. One of these days you are gonna wish you hadn't done me wrong". Some great Country blues to finish with 'Head On' a song about their time in California and heading home to have a family life back in Texas. "There's nothing here that's ever gonna please me....It's a lonely road that I'm on.......".
This is a great driving album that is guaranteed to get your feet moving and your head bopping. Watch out for this duo, we all think here at LCM that they have a great future ahead of them. Highly recommended.