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Jeff Jensen - Morose Elephant (2015)

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Jeff Jensen - Morose Elephant (2015)

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1. Make it Through (J. Jensen)
2. Get Along (J. Jensen/V. Wainwright)
3. Fall Apart (J. Jensen)
4. Going Home (traditional)
5. Paper Walls (J. Jensen)
6. What's the Matter with the Mill (Minnie/Mccoy)
7. Ash and Bone (J. Jensen)
8. Elephant Blue (Jensen/Ruffino/Bridgeforth)
9. Bad Bad Whiskey (A. Milburn)
10. I'll Always Be in Love with You (Ruby/Green/ Stept)
 +
11. Empty Bottles (J. Jensen)

Jeff Jensen - guitar, vocals
Bill Ruffino - bass
Robinson Bridgeforth - drums

 

Big-band swinging grooves paralleled with southern guitar riffs make a long lasting first impression with the introduction of “Make It Through,” the first track on Jeff Jensen’s new album, Morose Elephant. The beachy keyboards are paired nicely with his light and airy vocals, which are then combined with the Delta-style guitar riffs, creating a new wave of soulful, bouncy rock n roll that is completely unique to Jensen. It is this Jensen-native style of arranging music that has set Morose Elephant apart from the strict structure of what is to be expected of modern day blues rock artists.

After coming off a feel-good high from “Make It Through,” the album leads into a power-chord packed anthemic jam, “Get Along.” The lyrics scream for undivided attention, speaking to the differences in opinions that occur between human beings and the negative attitudes that arise with lines like, “guess you could say, this is my protest song” and “this is a big ol’ world, we ain’t all gonna get along.” While that statement is true, it seems a bit surprising to hear that in songs of the year 2015, where most of the media and entertainment industry have focused on many issues of political, human, and individual equality. “I’m not always right, I’m sure not always wrong” Jensen sings in “Get Along,” but it brings up an essential question; is Jensen using not getting along as an easy excuse and/or justification to be passive on humans’ differences in opinions and ideas?

The album takes a bit of a left turn into a rock-style R&B-groovy ballad, “Fall Apart,” which then leads into a few other up-beat instrument jamming songs including “Going Home,” “Paper Walls,” and “What’s The Matter With The Mill,” all of which include influences from classic 1950s rock and roll styled rhythms and arrangements. While the album doesn’t have a clear climactic moment, it closes out nicely incorporating all of the previous styles heard on the first six tracks. While Morose Elephant isn’t a clear cut, structured “roller coaster” of a ride album according to track listing, it is rather a cool blend of all the things Jensen is great at; authentic musicianship, incorporating classic music styles and influences, and writing attention-grabbing lyrics. The fact that each track’s style could be anthemic, could be a ballad, could be an up-beat groove is what makes it an intensely exciting listening experience.--- Jackie Howell, bluesrockreview.com

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