North Carolinian blues folksinger and guitarist Jake Xerxes Fussell grew up in a household steeped in the heritage and culture of the American South. The son of a noted Georgian folklorist, Fussell's youth was spent riding around with his dad while he documented old bluesmen, string bands, and Native American artists. It's the kind of real deal Americana education that thousands of aspiring Harry Smith scholars would kill for and, to his credit, he made the best of it, apprenticing with regional blues legend Precious Bryant, traveling the country learning songs by ear, and using his connections.
On his solo debut, Jake Xerxes Fussell sounds like an explorer. He was the son of a folklorist who documented vernacular culture in the Southeast. He’s worked with blues men and played in country bands. He was a student in the Southern Studies program at Ole Miss. He recorded with Rev. John ….
Jake Xerxes Fussell— Jake Xerxes Fussell (Paradise of Bachelors)Jake Xerxes Fussell grew up the son of a folklorist, which probably explains a lot. Every song on his debut album is sourced from an old record or field recording, but he and producer William Tyler have gone out of their way to ensure that they don’t sound particularly antique. In fact, while they’ll rest pretty easily upon Americana-tuned ears, they don’t slot too easily into any particular scene.
North Carolina-based, Georgia-raised blues folksinger/guitarist Jake Xerxes Fussell got an early immersion in historical Americana thanks to his folklorist father, Fred Fussell, who travelled the rural South documenting and recording backwoods blues musicians. That respect for tradition is evident in the obscure early blues songs he's reinterpreted on his gorgeously understated self-titled debut, whose arrangements he updates with subtle sonic details that shift the work beyond historical re-enactment territory. His soulful, gravelly vocals and guitar work, often mixed to sound like he's standing 2 feet away from you, firmly centre the work.