Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Up From the Underground-Ethan Jano : "I'll Be Fine"

  The Blue collar born Jano busts into his album with a energetic strum that reminds me slightly of the Violent Femmes, before some of the more country elements trickle in. Jano isn't going for pop-folk like beardos of alt-radio these days, but he is not Rome either. Instead Jano opts for a more 60's approach that artists like Phil Ochs who followed in the pick up your guitar and start a revolution scene Bob Dylan brought into the mainstream. It's the more somber moments like "Faithful Son" that have the most emotional resonance. His  strong, but  plainative  voice works best when countered with a more minor key guitar passage behind it.

 Some times electric guitar is employed to create a more hoe down swing. The wheel is not being reinvented when he comes to the cross roads Elvis once found himself at, standing between country and rock. The album continues to ramble down the rail road at an upbeat pace. It finally slows on the more blues based like of  "I Won't Go", though vocally he steers things in more of a country direction. By this point in the album you will be convinced this guy is legit and not some frat boy who is hoping on the bandwagon. The first song that feels like straightforward folk is the banjo inflected "All I Need is You". But the blues begins to win with boisterous banging of "No Idea" that is an adbrupt as a punk rock song.

Ethan's sense of melody is best showcased on the easy going vocal of "The Perfect Space". Lyrically the metaphors are rooted in a sense of story telling. This is conveyed best through the more introspective vocal approach on "the Burn" without Jano having to  sacrafice any of his robust delivery. He ends the album with a jubliant jamboree of "Wild Fire".  The lyrics to this one are also the most care free on the album.  If you like Americana and would like it to be slathered in blues speckled folk then this is the album you have been waiting for.

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