RATING: 7.5 / 10
Genre: Rock, Blues, Americana
Songwriting: 8.5 | Music: 8 | Vocals: 6
Location: Glendale, CA
For fans of: Van Morrison, Warren Zevon, Mumford and Sons
Release Date: June 10, 2016
Jess Wayne has embarked on a journey to express himself musically, despite being located in the land of film, Los Angeles, California. Wayne’s new release, Ride The River takes us on a trip through the walls of his mind where an interesting narrative unfolds; one that is focused on the artist’s personal experiences with the people and places he has encountered through the years.
MUSICALLY: Although Jess Wayne is located in a city where popular culture and youth rules the landscape, he hasn’t attempted to fit in. Instead, Jess offers up a hefty dose of rock music that channels the artistic muscle of greats like Van Morrison and Warren Zevon. But before you misunderstand me, this doesn’t mean Wayne’s music is dated. On the contrary, Ride The River delivers powerful live instrumentation that transcends so-called, “dating”.
Without going on a deep rant about ageism in music, I’d like to say that as a musician and journalist I find it odd when we label a sound “retro” and thus worthy of mainstream attention when a 20-something plays it, but when a middle-aged musician plays it we reclassify it as “old school” and confine it to oldies stations? Nevertheless, Ride The River is a strong mix of rock, blues, and Americana music that deserves a shot no matter how old you are.
LYRICALLY: The songwriting on Ride The River is highly relatable, but it’s lack of superficial club talk might alienate college aged music fans who aren’t quite ready to connect with an album full of real life situations. Songs like “Better Get Used To It” and “Say Goodbye To Hollywood” are perfect examples of Wayne’s “tell it like it is” approach to songwriting, where he addresses matters of the heart and shares the lessons he has learned from that which he has experienced. So, if you’re looking for a bunch of songs about getting drunk at 3 a.m., or promiscuity then this isn’t going to suit your tastes in music.
VOCALLY: There’s a certain tone and melodic structure that every person listens for when trying to form a unique opinion about an artist’s songs. We all know that folk music fans are not listening for the same things as EDM fans, so we cannot expect for an artist like Jess Wayne to appeal to 20-somethings who like Adam Levine. In Wayne’s case the vocal inflections he emits make it clear that we’re listening to an older gentleman, while his melodies suggest that he’s not really out to connect with today’s pop culture vultures. None of this means that Jess Wayne is a bad singer, it simply means that he’s most likely to connect with fans of the earlier mentioned rock music greats.
Ride The River is now available for purchase, and don’t forget to catch him live in your area. Visit his website [www.jesswayne.com] for more details.