Jake Xerxes Fussell – What In The Natural World (album review)

by Woody on May 9, 2017

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Photo by Brad Bunyea

Jake Xerxes Fussell is a Georgia native making his home in Durham, NC these days. He’s part of a crop of amazing acoustic guitarists that we’ve been blessed with these days – Gunn, Walker, Elkington, Tyler and Salsburg to name a few. Fussell isn’t some fly by night artist that appeared out of nowhere. You read his bio and you learn of a man that has been learning since he was a kid, often at the side of his dad; noted Southern Renaissance man Fred C. Fussell.

On What In The World, Fussell again delves into yesteryear for his collection of tunes to perform. Unlike his s/t debut Fussell strays from the South for some his tunes. The Bells of Rhymney is a song of Welsh origin, popularized by Pete Seeger; is a tune lamenting the plight of the working man. Keeping along those lines of the working man and poverty, Furniture Man is another standout on the album. Fussell closes out the album with a chilling murder ballad which features some guest vocals by Joan Shelley.

While many of these songs may be over 100 years old, Fussell put together a collection of tracks that sound as timely today as they did back then. I don’t what that says about the progress we’ve made or not made. But as for Fussell, there’s no denying his progress.

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