Jason Harrod embodies a blend of blues and folk wrought with an extremely strong country spine…and I mean that in all it implies. He possesses a strong voice and confident almost 50s-ish presence and sound, writing catchy melodies with a great band (Phil Medeira seconds him on electric guitar and keyboards, and Phil's notorious for his tasty licks in many sessions with Emmylou Harris, Mavis Staples, and so on). This guy is neither shy nor retiring and delivers his words and sounds with gusto and conviction...though the sentiments are conventional and not particularly insightful. That, though, is a plus when it comes to chart material, and Bright as You has quite a few chart eligibles, When I Fly Away perhaps being among the best.
A good deal of this CD is redneck as hell. Harrod's a young guy but he's soaked up the rough and tumble mid-West vibe completely; thus, many of the sentiments are a bit…earthy, blunt, and perplexing, occasionally a trifle worrying but interesting for the guy's willingness to lay it on the line:
I'll be the go-to man on the final play
Is he talking about himself or another? Hard to tell, though the bulk of the songs indicate the former.
My mad girl she's so pissed off
And, as we see, a decent percentage of the lyrics are of such blends of strange emotions and clumsiness, yet, even when they don't carry the moment in and of themselves, the music almost always makes up for it. There are elements of Stray Cats, Hank Williams Jr., and a number of ensembles…and then there's the loungey Voyeur, a song that sneaks in and upends everything. I'm not sure quite what to say about Jason Harrod except that I'm simultaneously impressed and scratchin' my head. I doubt he has his direction firmly nailed, the varying nature of the disc says so but there's enough here that's drenched in excellence that I'm struck dumb. That doesn't happen often, so the next step is for the reader to try to catch a sample or two of his music and take it from there.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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