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Pop - Released June 7, 2019 | Paradise of Bachelors

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Folk/Americana - Released March 31, 2017 | Paradise of Bachelors

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In early 2015, Georgia native Jake Xerxes Fussell delivered a remarkably durable debut with his eponymous William Tyler-produced effort on North Carolina's Paradise of Bachelors label. His warmly reimagined arrangements of arcane Southern blues and folk tunes somehow eschewed the scholarship of their origins and cast them in a new light that was of neither 20th nor 21st century provenance. A sense of timelessness is a tough trick to pull off, but Fussell has somehow carved a path that detours around dusty Americana retroism and detached modernism to occupy a strange little niche of his own. On his second outing, What in the Natural World, Fussell again mines the front half the of last century, unearthing a slightly shadier collection of deep cuts whose sources range from Colorado River lore ("Canyoneers") to Virginia mining tales ("Pinnacle Mountain Silver Mine") to the traditional English balladry compiled by American folklorist Francis James Child ("Lowe Bonnie"). More sparsely arranged than his debut, the songs of What in the Natural World often take on a moodier cast, though with Fussell's hearty voice and affable picking style, there is still a spirit of friendly mirth in his delivery. Employing only guitar and piano on "Jump for Joy," a lesser-known Duke Ellington cut, Fussell makes a rare foray into the mid-century jazz vernacular, singing "have you seen pastures groovy, green pastures was just a technicolor movie." A nimble opening volley, it sets up what is probably the album's best track, the peculiar yet beguiling "Have You Ever Seen Peaches Growing on a Sweet Potato Vine?" which lazes along for a welcome six minutes. The lonesome depression-era "Furniture Man" is another highlight, featuring some eerie steel guitar work by fellow Durham resident Nathan Golub. The undeniably Southern and word-stuffed "Billy Button" manages to sound both bittersweet and absurd, and this contradictory tone can really be applied to the whole set. Overall a more unsettling collection than his debut, Fussell still offers a unique experience and applies his distinctive take on Southern American music that is like no one else's. ~ Timothy Monger
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Folk/Americana - Released January 27, 2015 | Paradise of Bachelors

North Carolinian blues folksinger and guitarist Jake Xerxes Fussell grew up in a household steeped in the heritage and culture of the American South. The son of a noted Georgian folklorist, Fussell's youth was spent riding around with his dad while he documented old bluesmen, string bands, and Native American artists. It's the kind of real deal Americana education that thousands of aspiring Harry Smith scholars would kill for and, to his credit, he made the best of it, apprenticing with regional blues legend Precious Bryant, traveling the country learning songs by ear, and using his connections. Surprisingly, one of the best things about Fussell's self-titled debut is how loosely he adheres to notions of what is or what is not "authentic." The material comes from the great rural blues and folk traditions of the South, but his interpretations are relaxed, unfussy, and full of his own unique personality. Produced by experimental guitarist William Tyler and aided by a motley crew of Nashville vets, Fussell rolls through an often obscure yet timeless set of early blues and folk tunes with an understated grace and easy charm. Alternating between electric and acoustic guitar, his fingerpicking style is full of nuances and his warm voice resembles a slightly more ragged Paul Burch. There's a distinct rock edge to cuts like "Let Me Lose" and "Pork and Beans," with their full rhythm sections, double-tracked vocals, and organ parts. Other standouts like the lovely "Star Girl" mix old-time beauty with drifting pedal steel and atmospheric guitar effects. He's not afraid to mess with the formula a bit, but neither is he showy. The way everything hangs together so seamlessly suggests a poise beyond his years. This is the kind of subtle record unlikely to make immediate waves, but with a staying power that will call for repeated listens. ~ Timothy Monger
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Pop - Released April 3, 2019 | Paradise of Bachelors

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Folk/Americana - Released January 19, 2017 | Paradise of Bachelors

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Pop - Released April 25, 2019 | Paradise of Bachelors

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Folk/Americana - Released February 9, 2017 | Paradise of Bachelors

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Pop - Released May 23, 2019 | Paradise of Bachelors

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