One of the things I miss about living in Louisville, which I maintain is the most underrated city in the US, is the great community of singer/songwriters. Bluegrass and Appalachian music are indigenous to Kentucky, and Louisville, more Midwestern than Southern (with the exception of the show they put on at Derby each year), has a thriving indie rock scene.
Throughout my time in Louisville I got to play with a variety of talented musicians, but one of my favorite projects to be part of was Jubalson.
Jubalson is the brainchild of Brian Ott. The moniker is an allusion to the book of Genesis, which lists Jubal as the first musician. (long time readers of this blog may remember it used to be titled “The Jubal Jubilee”, but I digress). Since I was in the band, Brian has developed his sound in a decidedly more folky direction and released his first LP, “Come Back Son”. I was excited when Brian sent me a digital copy last week, mostly because I’ve missed hearing these songs since I left the states.
The title track, “Come Back Son” is new to me, but it’s quickly growing on me. It’s has an Americana feel with a radio-rock veneer that would make it fit comfortably into the afternoon lineup at WFPK or your local college radio station.
Brian’s at his most sincere on “Dirty Fate”. The opening line, “There was a time when you could have been my wife”, is repeated like a mantra, in a dark exploration of love lost. The emotion steadily builds, but Brian never overplays his hand, letting the words speak for themselves. Emily DeZarn’s harmonies add an extra dimension to the agony.
For me, Brian’s stand out track is still “Now and Then”. It’s embarrassingly self-righteous, disturbingly violent, and pretty catchy to boot. I doubt Brian would wish to defend his mindset when he wrote the song, but it’s a good insight to the human desire for revenge and vindication.
Overall, I’m glad to see more quality music coming out of Louisville, and if Brian ever makes it big I’ll glad to be on the “Behind the Music” special complaining how Brian forced me out of the band over creative differences or something.