Published on July 12th, 2012 | by TLV News0
Jimbo Mathus – New Album – *Blue Light* – Music Review by Rebecca Long
This article was originally published in The Local Voice #160
Jimbo will perform LIVE (free!) in-store at The End Of All Music at 5pm on Friday, July 20th
This album showcases Jimbo Mathus’ Mississippi roots more than any of his other work I’ve heard. I can’t say it’s more accomplished or masterful, because none of his work has ever seemed anything but awesome to me. When you purchase this album at The End Of All Music, you’ll get a special code to download the album in mp3 format.
The title track is the first one you’ll hear when you put Side A of this beautiful clear-blue vinyl album on your turntable. “Blue Light” has a country sound, but is still very Jimbo, which to me is a genre in itself. You’ll feel like you’re riding around with Jimbo and his driver, to whom he sings, “I just saw the blue light flash in the back of my mind. Look here, driver, you know you’re one toke over the line.”
The second track begins with the same haunting keys as “Hypmotized” from Knockdown South and resolves into a soul-stirring strain. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the title had been “Small Town,” but it’s “Ain’t Feelin’ It.” My favorite line is “Keep my name out yo’ mouth.” It’s a perfect Oxford song. I could listen to it on repeat for hours some days. Then “Haunted John” ends Side A on a rock n’ roll note, with a bass riff that’s still stuck in my head.
Side B begins with another rockin’ refrain, which has become my favorite Jimbo song, even though I’ve only heard it twice: “F**ked Up World” (only he doesn’t use asterisks in the title). It’s hard to beat lyrics like “I’m tired of living in a f**ked up world. I wish The Man would get his shit together.”
“Shackles and Chains,” a sort-of love song, reminds me of Janis Joplin’s “Ball and Chain,” all about the leashes of love. But much more Mississippi. Then Jimbo flips back to a more country sound for the final track, “Burn the Honky Tonk.” It’s a honky-tonky heartbreak song that reminds me a lot of a Jimbo classic, “Skateland Baby.” A perfect end to an awesome record.
On this album, Eric Carlton plays keys, Kell Kellum rocks the pedal steel, Ryan Rogers bangs on drums, and “White Woman Killer” is listed on background vocals.