On Fire 2016
Former SILENT RAGE belter goes down the Mississippi to deliver a honeysuckle wine and forget about an urban whine.
Hard rock left behind, Jesse Damon has been expanding his stylistic reach for more than a decade now and enriching his musical vocabulary along the way. When it came to Southern rock, his sixth album’s title track sounds exactly like one may imagine it would – soulfully hot and funky – and the singer’s proposition to follow him can easily turn into a piper’s call, or a demand of a six-string gunner because, given Damon’s prowess on the frets, here’s an offer that’s impossible to refuse. If only there were fewer songs detailing a musician’s life – blues about the blues tend to be boring, lyrics-wise – the drift could’ve been more gripping, so it’s really difficult to sympathize with Jesse’s tuneful toil as the relaxed “Let It Slide” doesn’t advise to get rid of one’s grief but rather eulogizes the use of a certain guitar-playing technique, applied naturally to this song and “Outta My Mind” where his voice, bathed in acoustic strum, is at its most gripping.
Surely by setting things in motion with the punchy rockabilly of “Who’s Your Daddy” Damon’s trio let their hair down, and the piano-enhanced boogie “Foolish To Me” is infectious, yet on the riff front “Backstabbin’ Lover” wins hands down when memorable choruses house a flurry of fleeting licks – thanks also to the artist’s not-so-serious stance. To stress it, there’s enough of sleazy shuffle in “You Got Me Rockin'” – not a STONES’ tune of the same title – the “let me check posts” line adding humor to the piece’s loose feel, while the swampy song and dance of “Just Another Fool” are alluringly heavy. Maybe it’s not the venture one expected from Jesse but the direction he’s taken here is damn right.