Includes remarkable cover of Springsteen’s “Ghost of Tom Joad” classic…
By Fred Mills
Sometimes when the workweek is ending and you’re so relieved that it’s ending because that week was so shitty you hunger for your first lifeline to hoist you into the weekend: hence an amazing version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Ghost of Tom Joad” that graces longtime BLURT fave Gabriel Sullivan’s upcoming album Jvpiter (due out Nov. 25 on the Tucson songwriter/rocker’s Fell City label) and which offered yours truly said deliverance. He teases out the tune’s essential world-weariness while also discerning the elusive optimism that the Boss aimed for (raise your hand if you saw Springsteen on his 2014 tour, in which Tom Morello blew out the gates during the E Street Band’s rendition). And it’s a great, inspiring feeling. Thanks, Gabe.
More to the point: we’ve profiled Sullivan in the past of course, not to mention reviewed his last album, None of This Is Mine; based on the advance music he laid on us today, kudos for the new stuff is a foregone conclusion. Tracks like the Latin-inflected but lush “Seven Cataracts” (which the musician himself accurately likens to some of Lee Hazlewood’s compositions) and the spooky, electronic-tinged “Hollow Hunter” suggest that Sullivan’s vision of Americana is far-reaching, and emotionally devastating.
We’re planning some music premieres, so keep your browsers pointed right here. Some details, from Sullivan’s bio:
“JVPITER was written over the course of a year in Tucson, Arizona. Through the help of Kickstarter Sullivan was able to fly himself and bassist Thøger T. Lund to the Northwest coast of Denmark to spend one week recording in a secluded farmhouse with the Danish portion of Giant Sand as the backing band. There was no internet and no phone service, the sun was only down for 2 hours a day, animals wandered outside the windows of the studio…
“After spending two years supporting his last release, None Of This Is Mine, with the 10 piece balkan brass meets cumbia ensemble Taraf de Tucson, Sullivan decided it was time to focus his attentions on making songs that could stand on their own. Songs that could be performed with a voice and a guitar and still have the same power as with a band.
“Sullivan currently tours as a solo artist with just him and his guitar, or with backing bands upwards of ten musicians. He performs and collaborates regularly with Tucson staple Howe Gelb. His psychedelic cumbia group Chicha Dust, with fellow Tucson musician Brian Lopez, performs frequently in the Tucson area.”