BY JOHN B. MOORE
Managing to straddle the line between Southern rocker and Americana troubadour, Richmond-based guitarist Thorp Jenson comes off as a Southern states Springsteen on his self-produced record Odessa.
The charm of this album lies in its versatility. The first couple of tracks, like the stellar “Lonely” and “All We Have Is Time” boast echoes of Tom Petty, while elsewhere Jenson pulls off a haunting, stripped down sound that takes more from folk and classic barroom country than rock (think Guy Clark or Townes Van Zandt).
Jenson relies heavily on characters to move his songs along, like the soldier returning from war and feeling out of place in his old town (“Odessa”) or the self-proclaimed sinner in the opening track “Oklahoma.” Jenson even manages to pull off a hypnotically dark version of Modern English’s “Melt With You,” adding a layer of gravitas to the song that you never thought possible.
Coming in at 10 tracks, there are not any wasted moments here as Jenson and crew turn in a brilliant debut.
DOWNLOAD: “Oklahoma,” “Wake Up” and “I Melt With You”