The Upshot: Ex-Judybats rocker serves up the tuneage with flair and finesse.
BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Formerly a key member of the late, lamented Judybats and currently a resident of Knoxville Tennessee, Jeff Heiskell — who goes simply by his surname Heiskell — is a fully committed rocker whose latest album reflects his ability to make music with both flair and finesse.
Assisted by Tim and Susan Bauer Lee of the Tim Lee 3, among others, his third solo album, Arriving,falls midway between effusive power pop and straight-ahead, fully engaged, modern rock ‘n’ roll. Heiskell has a knack for devising intricate yet still accessible arrangements that give his melodies that extra flourish, and on songs such as “Faded Letter,” “Deep Appreciation,” and “Goodbye,” he makes a sound that’s unceasingly energetic and exuberant. “Standing Tall” boasts a perky piano line that helps provide a lilting comeuppance for a former victim of child abuse, while the hipster attitude of “Love Lost” comes across as something of a sneer. Nevertheless, when he hits the crested peak of “Carharts,” he literally seems to soar. Heiskell has the unusual ability to blend subtle suggestion and instant appeal, a trait that sets him apart from an abundance of competition.
A savvy songwriter with knowing instincts, Heiskell has arrived — once again — in grand style.
DOWNLOAD: “Carharts,” “Faded Letter,” “Deep Appreciation,”