A few years back, I was sent some music. My blog was on the newer side and I was still listening to just about everything anyone sent me. Steve Wexler , the Father Jones drummer at the time ( he’s sidelined now due to some personal reasons, but remains one of the best drummers I know) , was pretty well known locally, and I trusted him when he emphatically stated that I’d be blown away by that record. I loved it upon first listen. In fact, I was so enthralled that I interviewed them, went to a live show and wound up being so impressed that I married the keyboard player. Talk about life-changing!
Over the past few years the band has seen some line up changes. It took a while to find the right people and settle in enough for the band to meld together and find their own sound, yet still remain true to the Father Jones style and spirit. Singer, Dan McGill is a prolific songwriter, so the band also took some time to wade through an abundance of great material and decide exactly which songs best suited this album. It’s been 3 years since “Town of the Broken Hearted “ and finally, we get to hear what we’ve been waiting for . “Judgment Day” is a follow up that made it worth the wait.
Father Jones is an enigma. Known for their live shows where they blow the roof off of venues with a volume and a passion you don’t often see in local scenes (to the point where they’ve actually been scolded, live, on stage, by a guy that runs a couple of local “jams”) , they often surprise you with the depth and complexity of some of their lyrics. On this record, we are still getting all of the intensity and volume the band is known for in addition to some really beautiful and slightly more mellow selections. This combination of in your face rock ‘n roll, peppered with some truly beautiful and nuanced lyrics propel this record from something ordinary to something extraordinary.
The album begins with the song “Shoot The Moon” , an epic ballad about chasing dreams and not giving up. This segues into multi-layered and stunning Flesh and Blood,a haunting and intimate portrayal of love and loss. “Goin’ Under” is a dark and bleak commentary on our current society ;
“There’s anger in the heartland
And fascists on the aisle
The moon is red
But the prophet said
We’ve only just begun” .
The album concludes with “Dig My Grave” , which has long been a live favorite of mine . This song comes at you with all of the subtlety of a earthquake. From the pounding intensity of the rhythm section to the bombardment of lead guitar, this song is not for that faint of heart. It’s an epic ending to an equally epic album.
You may immediately dismiss this review and conclude that nepotism would have to be involved, here. I mean, who’s going to write a negative review about their husbands band? To that, I earnestly state; there is no way I’d ever write a good review unless I meant it. In that case, I just wouldn’t write a review at all.
And besides, who in the world would want to marry a guy who’s band sucked?
All kidding aside, this album is worth the wait and worth a listen. It’s available now on Apple tunes, reverb nation and Spotify.
Update: Father Jones recently lost long time drummer, Steve Wexler , to pancreatic cancer. A true professional and incredibly passionate drummer as well as an excellent friend, Steve will be missed more than we can possibly express. We know you’re somewhere, banging those drums with a giant smile on your face, dear friend.