Friday, 24 June 2016

Record Review - Jeff Jensen

Published in the Shortlist section of The Sydney Morning Herald, June 24.

Jeff Jensen Band
Live – The River City Sessions
Swing Suit Records

Almost on a whim, US blues guitarist and producer Jeff Jensen ended up in Memphis a few years ago, one of those serendipitous life decisions which saw him soon afterwards absorbed into renowned harp player Brandon Santini’s band.

Jensen went out on his own after a while, releasing a couple of records with his trio (bassist Bill Ruffino and drummer Robinson Bridgeforth), bringing us to his latest release, a live cut recorded in December last year at Ardent Studios. And it’s a good one, showing just how emotive a player and solid a writer Jensen is.

Heavily based within the blues but not afraid to venture into soul and rock ‘n’ roll territory, The River City Sessions veers comfortably from flat out to velvet smooth, a collection of Jensen originals and covers from the likes of Tom Waits (Heart Attack & Vine), Dylan (All Along The Watchtower), and T-Bone Walker (T-Bone Shuffle). While more than proficient at wrangling all sorts from his guitar, Jensen is also very serious about his songwriting, and it shows in cuts like Ash & Bone and Empty Bottles. Another blues guitar slinger yes, but one with the songs to back it up.

Samuel J. Fell

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