Jeremy Parsons: Doggondest Feeling

Young country singer with a jones for early country style

Parsons’ young years, rosy complexion and boy-next-door good looks hardly prepare you for the similarity his voice holds to that of Hank Williams Sr. on the opening track. It’s no accident, as his debut pays tribute to the country music of Williams’ era, and his grassroots marketing includes Little Jimmy Dickens pitching the CD in a spot airing on RFD-TV. Parson’s is loyal to what he considers the golden era of the Grand Ole Opry and sings with a vibrato in his voice that harkens back to country music’s roots in the late 1920s and early ‘30s, his falsetto notes ranging into the same place as Jimmie Rodgers’ yodels. He reaches back to a time before to a time before country music had to be “saved” from its repeated entreaties to the pop charts. Though he fashions himself a country classicist, his vocals occasionally favor the folk tones of John Denver and Phil Ochs in his less strident moments.

Parsons writes of Hank Williams’ final night on the album’s opener, sings of his faith in “Passenger Seat,” and imagines what it was like “When My Old Man Was Young.” But mostly he writes of relationships in various states of decay and dissolution. With his chipper voice, however, the sadness and misery, particularly in the upbeat “Since My Baby Left Me” isn’t particularly teary. There’s a bit of Haggard in the guitar figures of “I Could Be Your Pick Me Up,” and producer Bernard Porter’s done a fine job of giving this record a clean sound that plays up the twang of guitars, banjos, dobros (courtesy of guest Randy Kohrs) and steel (courtesy of guest Smith Curry). As a bonus, the title track is repeated at CD’s end, but equalized to sound like a 78 with surface noise added as a patina. [©2010 hyperbolium dot com]

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