Jesse Terry – When We Wander
With the opener, Jesse Terry clearly sounds like a singer-songwriter who shares a pedigree with Jonathan Edwards, Michael Martin Murphy, Dan Fogelberg & the like. With his John Hartford homegrown appearance, gentle touch, inspiring lyrics, beautiful melodies, warm voice & easy-going nature he isn’t any different than the rest. But…
His personality comes through his songs & that’s what many singer-songwriters lack despite good material. I like this guy. I respect what he stands for & how he conveys it.
If you like Carole King’s “Tapestry,” & the early LPs of James Taylor, Terry creates that kind of tapestry with his music. He’s not as edgy as John Hiatt, or clever as John Prine but from the start ”When We Wander,” will caress your ear. “Strangers In Our Town,” is also a good introduction to Terry’s skill. This is a good tune. What a pleasure.
More poignantly & exploring more family life in his music Jesse sounds as if he’s channeling Harry Chapin (on this the addition Eamon McLoughlin enriches the melody with violin/viola & is mindful of Chapin). “Ghost Stories,” is a delight. “Hymn of a Summer Night,” finds Terry’s voice in a style once used by an obscure talented singer-songwriter, Bruce MacPherson (an American Elton John that sadly never happened).
The New England artist with an instinctively brilliant band releases When We Wander (Wander Recordings/Drops May 14). His 7th LP with family-themed & inspired songs is individually strong. Maybe Terry’s found a niche no one mines. Recorded in Nashville in 2019 with producer Neilson Hubbard (drums) it was all recorded live in the studio.
No reason to dissect each song. Each has its own personality & exceptional performance. At first, I thought, “yeah another singer-songwriter…” but Jesse is just that. He has the skill, good songs & knows how to tell vivid tales. Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Randy Newman, John Prine, all wrote songs that suited their person & process. Jesse Terry has his.
“Hanging On the Stars,” is infectious. The acoustic guitars (Jesse) with the electric/acoustic guitars & mandolin of Will Kimbrough, Eamon’s violin, Juan Solórzano’s lap steel, electric/acoustic guitars, Josh Kaler’s pedal steel – all enliven, enlighten & ignite these wonderful songs. Dean Marold adds electric/upright bass, Danny Mitchell (piano/harmonies) & Mia Rose Lynne with Liz Longley (harmonies) – contribute wonderfully.
Jesse at times runs a stylistic finger along the rim of a Jackson Browne musical cup. He’s not there yet with lyrical detail but his voice has that Browne tradition. No imitation, just pure tonality, intonation, phrasing & quality. “Innocent Ones,” is a stunner. Intelligent, exciting & has commercial potential.
So, we lost Townes van Zandt, John Prine, Guy Clark, Tim Hardin, Mickey Newbury, Leonard Cohen, John Denver & David Blue. We gained a Jesse Terry.
That’s the highest compliment I can offer. One of the year’s best for sure.
This 12-cut 43-minute CD is available @ https://www.jesseterrymusic.com/