Third time's a charm for the blues rock guitarist
Many artists choose to release an eponymous album as their debut, it's a way for an audience to discover an act without a title getting in the way. For more established acts it can be a way of getting stuck back into the music without extraneous detail, but at worst it shows a degree of arrogance or laziness. Thankfully, Jared James Nichols' self-titled third album is a statement, sans ego: It's a way of solidifying his sound, and style.
Album three is bold and raw. We are two weeks into the near year and JJN has released an album that will certainly blow away any winter blues. The record is designed to be an appetizer for his electric live shows, and it certainly delivers on that score. There's no messing about, the energy is cranked up from the opener 'My Delusion' to the dying embers of his Les Paul in the album's final bars. The album also has confidence as an artist where JJN can please himself, “the album is a day in the life with the ups and downs, but it musically rings true to who I am as an artist. I’m not trying to be anybody but myself and play the music I love for today. I’m giving you loud ass guitars and no fucks given rock ‘n’ roll, and I’m loving it.”
Of course, it goes without saying that the album is pretty pleasing for the listener too. JJN's guitar work is exceptional throughout and is a perfect pairing for his gritty vocal. 'Shadowdancer' is a noteworthy tune and JJN's riff work is darkly blusey, dreamy and almost hypnotic. 'Skin and Bone' has yearning, desperate guitar work that goes with its profound lyrical content. The track, like much of the album, is deliciously retro, but it's not contrived.
Not only can his guitar work be atmospheric and restrained, but it can also hit you like a New Year hangover. Forget the slow and tender song by Cohen that shares the same title, 'Hallelujah' is a blues rock steamroller.
Part of this album's appeal is its light and shade, JJN doesn't just pick a groove and wear it out. It's a sophisticated blues rock record make no mistake, third time's a charm!