Jacob Jones' Good Timin' In Waynetown (Electric Western Records) and Daniel Romano's Come Cry With Me (Normaltown Records) start the New Year off right with some retro/classic cross-generational tunes. To paraphrase the great Dave Alvin: They play the Louisiana boogie and the delta blues, They play country, swing and rockabilly too, They play jazz, country-western and rockabilly too. Maybe they don't hit every genre in that description on their discs but between the two artists they come very close. You may dig Dylan's latest croakings but these two discs will keep the party or family gathering hopping instead of driving your guests out the door.
Romano's disc is the more country disc of the two and that is obvious from the pastel vintage colorized album cover featuring Daniel in a Nudie suit, pink shirt and cowboy hat. Come Cry With Me features the "based on a true story" country weeper "Middle Child" and a host of other heartbreaker/heartbroken songs that pre-date the whole No Depression explosion. With fiddle, pedal-steel and lush backing vocals the sad songs are haunted by the ghosts and influences of Gram Parson, Hank Williams and Hank Snow. On "I'm Not Crying Over You" Romano sings " The truth is I just got a new job acting, so any tear that rolls my cheek is just pretend" and I wonder if this is an act or from the heart and yes, it could be both. Either way it is an engaging performance and I'd love to hear Romano live. He's currently on tour across Canada with a few stops in the US (Washington DC, Nashville and NYC). Catch him if you can.
Jacob Jones worships at the multi-genre altar of Ray Charles and he pays direct name-checking homage on the rocking "Play It Loud Ray" where he is joined by Brittany Howard from the Grammy nominated Alabama Shakes. Charles is along for the ride and is an obvious source of inspiration but Chuck Berry's influence is there too notably on the road-tune "Johnny B. Goode" inspired "Tennesse Highway". Jones vocals, especially on the title track recall a smoother, a little jazzier version of Kim Wilson from the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Jones hits just the right balance between hipster howler and R&B and country crooner on all ten of these original tracks. The black and white album cover and dark glasses gives you a hint at what to expect and Jones delivers in spades with honkin' sax, Fess inspired piano, girl group backing vocals and a rocking band that does a whole lot of "Good Timin' In Waynetown"