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CD: J. JEFFREY MESSEROLE – Kingsnake’s Bite

Kingsnake’s Bite
Kingsnake’s Bite – Cheap Pillows – Cross The
Cumberland – Life Is A Zoo Blues – The Pistol & The Flowers – Slow
Dance Through A Burning Field – Widow To The Harvest – East Brooklyn
Tabernacle Blues – Cut My Teeth, Warm My Hands – Wings Of Red
J. Jeffrey Messerole is very difficult to categorize.  He’s
his own man, and even though I had some difficult ‘hearing’ all he was
singing, saying, extrapolating, and certainly sharing, listening to this
poet-songwriter present his words, ideas, stories, and dreams was an
adventure to say the least.  Jeffrey, believe it or not, is a real-deal
folk singer from Iowa.  Not knowing the musicians present during the
session, I’m assuming that Jeffrey is playing acoustic rhythm guitar,
however there is some additional pickin’ and playin’ that emphasizes the
strange differences that Jeffrey feels when he is in his music mode. 
In “Life Is A Zoo Blues” there’s a very nice resonator guitar adding to
this very distinctive bluesy song, my favorite on this album.  This
single song takes me back to Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers.  That
same sincere, individual ‘soul’ approach to a ‘story’ in a song with
‘blues’ attached as the reason for its existence.  Some good harmony
work throughout this album, and an occasional additional interesting
musical instrument, like the harmonica along with the resonator guitar
on “Slow Dance Through a Burning Field.” Since I knew Moses Asch really
well, and recorded six albums for him on Folkways (now part of the
Smithsonian), I found Jeffrey’s “East Brooklyn Tabernacle Blues” very
reminiscent of some of those early Folkways artists, this song in
particular where he sounds like two different voices, it takes me
directly to Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee some incredible blues singers
of the 20’s.  It is so nice to hear this again, super.  All of these
songs are originals by Jeffrey who writes from experience, about himself
and the lives of his close friends.  I, like Moses Asch would have
thought, consider him a kind of modern American folk storyteller.  He
very easily paints a picture with words expressed in musical thought.
Nicely done Jeffrey, I’m glad you’re from Iowa, ‘real’ folk music is
still alive thanks to you.
for Country Music News International Magazine

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