Nicholas Jamerson – Peace Mountain
“She came from dirt floors….” Is where his grandmother came from. That says it all in 5 words. With a distinctive approach similar to The Cat Mary’s vivid narrative “Her High Lonesome Days,” the introductory dialogue of “Chapter 2,” that opens this CD finds Kentucky artist Nicholas Jamerson talking reflectively in a personal tone. On a back porch, late at night alone with whiskey, sitting around a campfire when a vulnerability is at its peak. An easygoing yet intense talk in a voice that is confessional, contemplative & simply intriguing.
The music itself draws its topical words from the natural world with heartfelt characters. It documents the plight, hardships & triumphs of who? Hillbillies. The American rural poor, the Appalachian people who have been forgotten in today’s headlines. “Bad Imagination,” is well-played, marvelously constructed & often pensive — a Willie Nelson with singing lessons tonality. An excellent start to an hour-long showcase on Mr. Jamerson’s 6th studio LP Peace Mountain (Drops May 19–Bingo Shack).
Jamerson utilizes the standard styles of country, rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B & 4-part harmonies to flesh out his stories that will stay with you…if you listen. There’s plenty of sheer excellence in each performance.
Having played the Grand Ole Opry & Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Jamerson is a polished artist who’s shared stages with major names. His strong attraction is his enthusiasm & ability to entertain. Nothing is overcooked – the messages are simple, but he taps into subjects seldom covered by average country singers.
“Lexington” & “Watching the Fire Burn,” are mindful of laid-back singers like Michael Martin Murphey, Murray MacLauchlan, John Denver, John Stewart, the late Gordon Lightfoot & England’s late David McWilliams. Singers who are descriptive, weld stories to their melodies with precision & clarity.
The John Prine flavor surfaces on the humorous “Wild Nights, Weird Mornings.” These songs, however, resonate with the ear & it’s a generous portion at 15 songs. The slow “I Love Blue,” even has a jazz-inflected ballad vocal line that isn’t immediately obvious. Billie Holiday could have sung this. And with “Magnolia Boulevard,” Jamerson sings with the tonality, inflection & phrasing of again — Willie Nelson. Quite impressive.
Jamerson talks with an elder on a track much the same as Memphis singer-songwriter Don Nix did in the 70s when he featured bluesman Furry Lewis’s dialogue. Nice touch. The most impressive lyric is on “This Ain’t Supposed To Happen In Our Town,” followed by “Peace Mountain,” with its powerful Ralph Stanley vocal spirit.
Highlights – “Chapter 2,” “Bad Imagination,” “Billy Graham Parkway,” “Holler Child,” “Hang On,” “Lexington,” “Watching the Fire Burn,” “I Love Blue,” “Magnolia Boulevard,” “Wild Nights, Weird Mornings,” “Mr. Buzzard,” “Wild One,” “This Ain’t Supposed To Happen In Our Town,” & “Peace Mountain.”
Musicians – The Morning Jays, Maggie Noelle (vocals), Charles Wesley Godwin (vocals) & Chelsea Nolan.
Color photo courtesy of Zach Hill/Wandering Visuals. CD @ Amazon & https://www.nicholasjamerson.com/media