Album: Jake Xerxes Fussell – Good And Green Again review

by Philip Moss

Alongside his first original works, Georgia ‘music interpreter’, Jake Xerxes Fussell, takes on compositions that have been passed down through the ages, and weaves a collection to treasure

Traditional songs carry the heartbeat of the towns and country folk who wrote them. They are enriched with wisdom, love, torture – heck, call it magic! They are precious; a treasure waiting to be mined by the next generation who unearths them – be that via word of mouth, being taught them by grandparents, or on record such as this one: the resplendent new LP from Jake Xerxes Fussell.

 Opener, Love Farewell, is the perfect introduction. Unconcerned by the lyrical death march that the song’s protagonist sings of, gentle and sweet, it bobs along – Bonnie Prince Billy’s considered backing vocals don’t so much lift the chorus, as interplay with Fussell’s – nudging each other further down stream like competing Poohsticks. And the same must be said for all of Fussell’s companions on the record: not a note is out of place, thanks to the careful curation from producer, James Elkington (Jeff Tweedy, Michael Chapman, Steve Gunn).

Breast of Glass‘ horns drift like freshly percolated coffee wafting straight out of the kitchen window – its calming patience summarising the unrushed nature of Good And Green Again as a whole. On Frolic, the first of three instrumental originals, every note from his guitar hangs for a moment and then evaporates without trace; while on closer, Washington, Fussell signs off with just fourteen words: ‘General Washington, noblest of men, his house, his horse, his cherry tree, and him’ – leaving it down to us to navigate the rest of the plot, as a gust of French horns bring us to the album’s meditative conclusion.

2020’s Bonny Light Horseman was a masterclass in the threading of folk tales through a contemporary needle. On Good And Green Again, Jake Xerxes Fussell stitches a tapestry that’s equally worth hanging.

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