Jeb Loy Nichols – Strange Faith and Practise

Dienstag, 22. Dezember 2009 um 19:42 - futziwolf
Jeb Loy Nichols – “Strange Faith and Practise” – CD
(impossible-ark-records // tru-thoughts)

VÖ: 07. September 2009


Ein weiter Schritt des Ex Fellow Travellers Frontmannes Jeb Loy Nichols als SingerSongwriter seine relaxten Folk- und Countrysongs mit coolem Newjazz zu verweben. Schon auf älteren Scheiben wie Easy Now wurden behutsam Loops und Sampels eingesetzt. Das neue Album Strange Faith and Practise krönt allerdings seine bisherigen Versuche aus der etwas seltsam anmutenden Melange aus Soul-R&B-Folk-Country-Jazz ein eigenständiges Genre zu machen.
Genial seine titelgebende Version des NOSTALGIA 77 Tracks Strange Faith and Practise. Folk und Country spielen dann auf diesem Album auch nur noch in den Strukturen des Songwriting eine Rolle. Schon im September 2009 erschienen erfreut uns Jeb Loy Nichols gerade jetzt in diesen kalten Tagen mit einer wunderbar warmen und relaxten Scheibe. Das englische Label
tru-thoughts beweist mal wieder seinen Riecher für coole Jazzmusik. KAUFEN!!!        -     großmutter futziwolf

artist website:


2009 – Parish Bar
2007 –  Days Are Mighty
2005 –  Now Then
2003 –  The October EP 7”
2002 –  Easy Now
2000 –  Heaven Right Here
2000 –  Just What Time It Is
2000 –  Say Goodbye To Christopher
1997 – As The Rain 12”
1997 – Lovers Knot


Part One.
Talking to Jeb Loy Nichols about his life is like watching a road movie. The restless pursuit of an unnamed goal, the constant search for something just out of reach. “It's true”, he says, walking through the fields of his Welsh farm, “I've done some moving.” It's all there in his music. The country, bluegrass and pop of his early years, the rebel music of punk and reggae, the deep grooves of the south. “It's all a road”, Nichols says, “one connecting to the other, all of them intersecting and crossing over.”

Born in Wyoming and raised in Missouri, Nichols absorbed the sounds of both rural America and the records played around his house. “We got it all”, he says, “my mom played jazz records, Don Shirley and Ella Fitzgerald, while my dad played bluegrass and Hank Williams.” But it was from the radio that Jeb recieved his most lasting education. Through the day and late into the night Jeb would listen and take to heart the disparate sounds of the airwaves. “The main station I listened to was out of Kansas City and played country music all day, then at nine o-clock at night they'd switch and become a soul station. It was magic, all this great music; Bobby Womack, Al Green, Curtis Mayfield, The Staples Singers, all of it right there, in my bedroom, for free.”

When Jeb was fourteen the family moved to Austin, Texas. “The best thing I learned in Austin”, Jeb says, “was how great live music could be. I saw everything from Funkadelic to Bob Marley to George Jones to The Ramones.” It was in Austin that he first heard, and was knocked out by, The Sex Pistols. “That was all new, the sound, the fury, the politics, all of it.” And it led straight to the road again, this time to New York. “I was seventeen”, recalls Jeb, “and New York was like nothing I'd ever seen. I'd always felt like an outsider and then there I was, in a town of outsiders. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.” In New York he was awarded a full scholarship to study painting at Parsons School of Design. He also started hanging out at clubs like Tier 3, The Loft and the Mudd Club where he became friends with members of the Slits and Neneh Cherry. “It was a great time to be in New York, the whole scene was so wide open.” It was the emerging hip hop scene that was most fascinating for him. “It was 1979 - and nothing in the world was more exciting than rap. The Treacherous Three, Funky Four Plus One, Grandmaster Flash - that stuff was so great! And then you had DJs like Larry Levan, it was fantastic.”
After three years in New York, Jeb hit the road again, this time to London. He shared a house with Ari Up from the Slits, Neneh Cherry and producer Adrian Sherwood, and, as he had in NYC, dove into London's artistic community. “I formed a country band with Joe Brack and we played every kind of show you can think of. We did some bluegrass, some country, a lot of old protest songs.” In 1990 a tape of songs ended up at OKra Records, a small label in Columbus, Ohio. OKra offered Jeb a deal, and Jeb put together a band that included his wife Loraine Morley, On-U Sound man Martin Harrison, and jazz trombonist John Harbourne. The Fellow Travellers merged country-tinged, acoustic-based songs with a dub bottom. “It was fun”, says Jeb “it just worked. We all played what we wanted and stayed out of each others way, and it sounded great. I've never had more fun.” The Fellow Travellers released three more albums and were described in Spin as “the lonesome children of Merle, Marley and Marx”.

In 2000, after releasing three solo records, Jeb Loy and Loraine Morley moved to Wales where they're slowly reclaiming ten acres of neglected scrub land, renovating a barn and putting in a large garden. “I'm sure I'll move again”, he says, “but not just yet. This feels good, feels like something close to home.”

“It's all about give and take,” says Jeb Loy Nichols. “All about tension, about restaint.” We're talking about his new CD NOW THEN, a collection of songs recorded in Nashville. “The way the country pulls at the city, the way the old plays with the new.”

It's a remarkable record, a masterpiece of distilled soul. “This is the record I've been leaning towards,” Jeb says, “all these years, all this moving around, all this listening and watching.” Hard bargains and divided families, absconders and runaways, holy dread and love, it's all here. The record pulses with seductive stories that talk of shifting fidelities and damage limitation.

“I knew I wanted to make this record in Nashville”, Jeb says, “because Nashville is nowhere I'd ever want to live. I love Nashville, but it's definitely not home. And I wanted that feeling of being unfixed. And I wanted to work with Mark Nevers.” Mark Nevers, member and producer of Lampchop, producer of Will Oldham, seems at first an odd choice to work with. But “Mark's great,” says Jeb, “the best in the world. I've known him for awhile and he brought the exact right feeling. Dirty and perfect and warm and unexpected.”

The record was recorded in five days in Never's studio in Nashville. The band was a mix of young and old; Mark brought some members of Lambchop while Jeb brought Muscle Shoals veteran Clayton Ivey and soul legend Dan Penn. They then brought the tapes back to London where they recorded bassist Wayne Nunes (Tricky, African Head Charge) and backing vocals by reggae legends Roy Cousins (The Royals) and Struggle. Then it was back to Nashville to record the strings and horns. “More travelling,” says Jeb. “but worth every minute. It had to be done that way - had to get that mish-mash of people, that gumbo.”
It was risky, but it works. The record brims over with conversations between players, between generations, between countries and cultures. The same give and take that Jeb first heard on southern soul records is updated here. “It was great to be a part of it, to watch it. To listen to everyone playing off each other. That's the point - to tell stories, to listen, to be a part of something bigger and better than yourself.”


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