05-08-19 | Songs for Listening | Jake Xerxes Fussell
Durham, NC singer and guitarist Jake Xerxes Fussell picked tunes for Wednesday, May 8 at Songs for Listening. Jake grew up in Columbus, Georgia, son of Fred C. Fussell, a folklorist, curator, and photographer. Fred’s fieldwork took him, often with young Jake in tow, across the Southeast documenting traditional vernacular culture, which included recording blues and old-time musicians with fellow folklorists and recordists George Mitchell and Art Rosenbaum, and collaborating with American Indian artists.
As a teenager, Jake began playing and studying with elder musicians in the Chattahoochee Valley, apprenticing with Piedmont blues legend Precious Bryant and riding wild with Alabama bluesman, black rodeo rider, rye whiskey distiller, and master dowser George Daniel. He accompanied Etta Baker in North Carolina; he moved to Berkeley, where he hung with genius documentary filmmaker Les Blank; he appeared on A Prairie Home Companion. He did a whole lot of listening, gradually honing his prodigious guitar skills, singing & repertoire. In 2005 he moved to Oxford, MS, where he enrolled in the Southern Studies department at Ole Miss, recorded & toured with Rev. John Wilkins, and in 2014, began recording his first solo album.
Jake’s 2015 self-titled debut record, Jake Xerxes Fussell, produced by William Tyler, transmutes ten arcane folk and blues tunes into vibey cosmic laments and crooked riverine rambles. In 2017, Jake followed-up with a moving new album, What in the Natural World, this time the radiant ancient tunes tone several shades darker while amplifying their absurdist humor, illuminating our national, and psychic, predicaments.
On his soon-to-be-released, Out of Sight, his third and most finely wrought album yet, Jake is joined for the first time by a full band. An utterly transporting selection of traditional narrative folksongs addressing the troubles and delights of love, work, and wine, collected from a myriad of obscure sources and deftly metamorphosed.
'Yungay' by Los Jilgueros de Matacoto from 'Huaynos Y Danzas'
'Cindy in the Summertime by Lawrence & Vaughn Eller from 'Folk Visions & Voices: Traditional Music & Songs in N. Georgia, Vol. 1'
'Symphony In E Minor: III' by Florence Price, performed by Karen Walwyn & New Black Music Repertory Ensemble
'Bow & Balance' by Horton Barker
'El Pichón by Conjunto Los Tremendos Michoacános from 'Antologia del Son de Mexico'
'Dean Brigg / Banks Hornpipe' by Hector McAndrew & Alice Mearns from 'Whaur the Pig Gaed On the Spree'