Jeb Loy Nichols – Parish Bar

January 01, 1970

(Compass)

 

www.compassrecords.com

 

There aren’t a lot of performers who deserve to be billed as
your proverbial renaissance person, but all things considered, Jeb Loy Nichols
clearly comes close.  Aside from his
standing as a visual artist of some repute, he boasts an ample musical resume
that incorporates rock, roots, reggae, R&B, dub and electronica … often
within the space of the same song.  And
while such a description may imply an overwhelming sense of chaos and
cacophony, Nichol’s ability to integrate these disparate styles gives him a
unique perspective that can be quite unexpected.

 

His latest, Parish Bar,
proves a perfect case in point, one which finds Nichols doing his usual genre
juggling and birthing something quite intriguing in the process.  While much of the album seems to find its
rhythm in a gentle sway, a casual groove or even a soft samba, it’s those songs
that meld techno and tradition – “Just a Country Boy” and “I’m Blue I’m
Lonesome Too” in particular – that raise this … Bar exponentially.  Sinewy
and seductive, these insistent rhythms help Nichols subtly shift personas –
from the cool hipster of “Whole Thing Going On” to the errant cowboy of
“Countrymusicdisco45” to the blissful balladeer of “Days are Mighty” and well
beyond.

 

For some, the shift in stance may seem somewhat
intimidating, and indeed, Nichols never settles into any one guise long enough
to keep a consistent handle.  Off-kilter
encounters like the oddly unsettling “Satan’s Helper” and the wistful and
reflective “I Took A Memory to Lunch” add to that element of uncertainty. “I
said people, won’t you follow me/This is the new country style you see,”
Nichols’ suggests on the telling opening track, “Countrymusicdisco45.”  Indeed, cozying up to Parish Bar may be encouraged, but indulging too long could be
intoxicating.

 

Standout
Tracks:
“Countrymusicdisco45,” “I Took a Memory to Lunch” LEE
ZIMMERMAN

 

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