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Design By Humans
Published On: Mon, Sep 12th, 2016

Jess Wayne: Ride the River

jess-wayneJess Wayne
Ride the River
(self-released)

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“Taken You Home Last Night,” with its tinkly piano, tentative acoustic, crying, simple, single-note electric guitar, slips under Jess Wayne’s talking vocals to open his new album Ride the River. “Hold On” is slow funk MOR, with John Matthew Rosenberg’s keys making a presence here as much as Wayne’s expert guitar, noodling accents in verses, soaring in the chorus, and then executing a simple lead. The backing vocals of Aimee Nolte, Masta Edwards, and Rosenberg should be noted as well. “Say Goodbye Hollywood” is kind of funky, Steely Dan territory, again seeing Wayne talking more than singing his observations of the eat-‘em-up-and-spit-‘em-out town. Again, he employees those backing vocals perfectly. “Why Don’t You Lie To Me” might be one of my favorites here. Alexis Sklarevski’s bass and Julio “Jimmy” Ledezma’s simple snare hits are in perfect lock-step with Rosenberg’s staccato piano all under a deceptively cutting lyric. I really like the soft music production (those sweet female vocals yet again swirling round the chorus) completely at odds with the tragic lyrics Wayne is talking. “Garden Song” is all Rosenberg really, he lays down the piano under Wayne’s odd lyric about a gardener. Sklarevski and Ledezma chunk the beat simply along. The music to this one is pretty damn good; I’m not sure the lyrics match it though. “All I Can Do For Now,” ending the album, is a lament about what it’s all worth, unless we have somebody to love. Again Rosenberg shines.

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Jess Wayne: Ride the River