Jake Xerxes Fussell – “The River St. Johns”
Jake Xerxes Fussell has announced a new album, Out Of Sight, that’ll be out in June. It’s the North Carolina-based folk musician’s follow-up to 2017’s What In The Natural World. Today, he’s sharing the album’s first single, “The River St. Johns.” Fussell had this to say about the background of the track:
The River St. Johns’ comes straight from one of Stetson Kennedy’s Florida WPA recordings of a gentleman named Harden Stuckey doing his interpretation of a fishmonger’s cry, which he recalls from a childhood memory. What compelling imagery there: “I’ve got fresh fish this morning, ladies / They are gilded with gold, and you may find a diamond in their mouths.” I can’t help but believe him.
The album announcement also comes with a statement from Bonnie “Prince” Billy espousing Fussell’s genius. You can read that and listen to the track below below.
Bonnie “Prince” Billy:
In our house we’ve listened to more Jake Fussell than any other individual artist over the past year, with the possible exception of Laurie Spiegel. We’ve had the opportunity to witness several intimate performances of Fussell’s (to my mind, he creates a new standard for the value of up-close musical experience) here in Louisville. As long as Jake Fussell is making records and playing shows, there is ample cause for optimism in this world.
Fussell’s repertoire, and the manner in which he creates, constructs and presents it, displays such a beautiful and complex relationship to time and currency. He’s able to listen to and understand the presence of an old recording, of crusty dusty written-out pieces of music and memories of musical encounters. And then he overlays his own now-ness on those pre-existing presences so that the lives of older musical forces, in effect, link arms with Fussell’s in-progress trajectory and skip down the brick road, picking up desperate and willing compatriots along the way. Meaning: Jake lives in music as a true time-artist, using the qualities of time itself as irreplaceable elements of content.
When Jake sings a sad song, he presents it in such a way that makes me want to say “Hey, but everything’s okay because you’re Jake Xerxes Fussell!” Hopefully it’s okay by him that I wouldn’t accept full-fledged nihilism from him even if he were standing naked on the ledge of a tall building with “this World is Shit” written on his shaved chest in, well, shit. His deal with his songs is too strong and blatantly valuable.
01 “The River St. Johns”
02 “Michael Was Hearty”
03 “Oh Captain”
04 “Three Ravens”
06 “Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues”
07 “The Rainbow Willow”
09 “Drinking Of The Wine”
Out Of Sight is out 6/7 via Paradise Of Bachelors. Pre-order it here.