This one has been creeping in on me lately. The third album from Tulsa’s Jessey Aycock is dusted with alt-country charms, a sweet dose of melancholia, and bar band grit. Aycock has made his name as a side-man with weathered charm. Most notably he’s been involved with the Hard Working Americans, which featured members of Widespread Panic, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, and and Duane Trucks. Here he’s rendering a more vulnerable outing, letting himself craft country that’s not as cosmic as quite a few that have rolled through here in the last couple of years, but rather face-down in the dirt, rolling over occasionally to look up at the stars. Aycock can pack in a hook, but he’s at his best when he’s also letting the song stretch out wide, wandering the flatlands looking for shelter from cold air and colder hearts.
On this eponymous LP, Jesse is just as often mining George Harrison’s shaggy pathos as he is Tom Petty’s cocked grin. There’s mischief at the edges, but the bulk of the record is three rounds deep and staring at the stars, a gentle numbness ebbing away the sadness. It’s clear that there’s an inherent twang is driving the album, but the way that Jesse melds sundown poetry with wide-open strums, the album transcends shoddy genre pegs. Aycock will tend to the wounds that fester, the loss that nags at the heart and pins you to the floor. His self-titled testament to resilience is a formidable record that’s too good to remain a sleeper in 2021. Dig it up and get it on the table while the night air is still crisp.
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