Jeb Loy Nichols - Country Hustle (City Country City Records)
LP / CD /DL
8.5 / 10
Steadily rising troubadour Jeb Loy
Is it Soul? Is it Country? Is it Hip-hop? No, it’s Jeb Loy Nichols with his new album
Country Hustle combining genres of music that you never thought could be gelled
together. Blues, jazz, funky backbeats
are all here and somehow, just somehow Jeb manages to make it sound sublime.
His voice is subtle, gentle and
enticing – go as far as to say he’s the closest we’ve ever come to the smooth
angelic tones of Nat ‘King’ Cole, and that’s quite some statement. Interwoven with the simplest of melodies and
the most addictive of choruses, he is the perfect songwriter.
There are hints of dub and club
riffs too and his friendship with Adrian Sherwood is described by the On-U
Sound main-man as brotherly. So what
makes Nichols such a well-guarded secret?
Who knows? Maybe the tag of ‘Country’
is off-putting but, it’s so far removed that you really wouldn’t notice.
Take album opener Come See Me, a
blues tinged slip of a track with gorgeous guitar riff and ‘that’ voice as
smooth as organic chicken soup and twice as tasty, it’s hard not to fall in
love from the beginning.
A stripped back cover of the 1981 Luther
Vandross dance delight Never Too Much leaves the listener with a hanging bottom
jaw as the Wales based Missourian stamps his mark all over the song making it
sound like one of his own. And that, is
the secret of Jeb Loy Nicholls, he sounds like no-one else and no-one sound
like him. He has an elegance like no
other and he often exudes pure class.
That’s How We’re Living draws
comparisons to Curtis Mayfield and even Marvin Gaye with its unavoidable
toe-tapping rhythm and earworm chorus and, Regret has a James Brown riff subtly
tucked away and a delicate funky drummer percussive line.
Album closer, Long Live The Loser starts
with some absolutely gorgeous dub effects and continues to introduce reverb moments
right through to the end. Till The
Teardrops Stop has more of the same with added repeats of the infectiously
Country Hustle is a gem of an
album and a must listen for any fan of hip-hop, soul, funk, country – you get
the message. Enjoy.