Review Archive

Sunday Never Comes’ from Jackstraw

(February 02, 2012)

My first encounter with Jackstraw was some years ago on hearing their album ‘Rubber Wheels’ so when their latest album arrived it was like fanning up the embers of an old memory – and a damn fine Jackstrawone it is too. It’s no secret that I love American folk and roots music and ‘Sunday Never Comes’ from Jackstraw is a masterclass in Americana roots. There’s bluegrass picking moulded around the tradition of the sweaty American South and the misty North-West. There’s an eclectic mixture that embraces the influence of old style honky-tonk, some country blues and American roadhouse folk – this is music with a tale to tell.

From the gentle, almost horizontal laid-back flavour of the opener ‘Come On Back To Me’ through the frenetic, finger-knotting intensity of ‘Sunny Brae’ and ‘Randy The Rambler’ to the cuttingly poignant and deep emotions of ‘Dark and Empty’ this album drives along and takes you with it. The collection of visceral America continues with ‘Just Another Way To Go’ the deep cutting anguish of ‘Hurts When I See You’ and not forgetting the superb ‘Pearly May’.

Jackstraw rip out a fast-paced instrumentals that will make your feet tap, unless someone’s nailed your shoes to the floor, equally they wander through sorrowful stories to make you weep. In recent years ‘roots’ has acquired no end of definitions – well what you have here is music from the roots. And those roots run deep through the earth, rivers and mountains to suck up the essence of their music.

Jackstraw is Darrin Craig (rhythm guitar, vocals) Jon Neufeld (lead guitar, vocals) picker David Pugh (mandolin, vocals) Cory Goldman (banjo) and Jesse Withers (double bass, vocals).

This album has the mysterious intrigue and attraction of a threadbare, well-travelled suitcase combined with the habitual security and comfort of a pair of well-worn boots. The flavour is raw and hungry, the feel is dark and dusty, the engagement is total, the times are good – you’ll love ‘Sunday Never Comes’.

Reviewer: Tom Franks

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