Jeff Jensen | Morose Elephant

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United States - Tennessee

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Blues: Guitar Blues Blues: Memphis Blues Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Morose Elephant

by Jeff Jensen

Blues, Soul, and Rock n Roll
Genre: Blues: Guitar Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Make It Through
3:44 $0.99
2. Get Along
3:58 $0.99
3. Fall Apart
4:27 $0.99
4. Going Home
5:08 $0.99
5. Paper Walls
4:39 $0.99
6. What's the Matter With the Mill (feat. Victor Wainwright)
4:27 $0.99
7. Ash and Bone (feat. Anne Harris)
3:41 $0.99
8. Elephant Blue
5:15 $0.99
9. Bad Bad Whiskey
4:23 $0.99
10. I'll Always Be in Love With You
4:15 $0.99
11. Empty Bottles (feat. Gary Allegretto)
3:02 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.



to write a review

Hill Mossor

This is blues music as fine art.
With this album, Jeff Jensen has presented a work of art. An examination by the artist of his place along his journey, and within his genre. The album is full of reflective touches, the way its songs relate to each other and previous material, the way the music and lyrics relate, moments when one or the other turns to look inward. This feels like an important work, not only as a milestone of the artist's career, but as an powerful introspective addition that enriches the Blues.
If you've seen The Jeff Jensen Band perform live, you know that Jeff has become one of the most innovative blues guitarists around. On the road, Jeff and his band, Bill Ruffino on bass and Robinson Bridgeforth behind the drums, have developed and honed their musical craft into artwork of sound and energy. With his latest album "Morose Elephant," Jeff has crafted a new intricate musical experience with the help of many musical friends, and also shows us his artistry of fine aural details and powerful lyrical imagery. The album is beautiful music and poetry, blues as art.
The album is presented with two sides like an LP, and side A begins in Memphis, with "Make It Through." The sound reminds us of Stax or Hi Records, and the horns of Marc Franklin and Kirk Smothers set the opening mood. The song seems to reflect on "I'm Thankful," the finale of Jeff's previous album, with perhaps a more seasoned point of view. These lyrics have a wiser tone, less raw hope and more thoughtful, while the music revisits that hope and optimism. The song is an anthem to friendship.
Next, "Get Along" is a 12-bar blues disguised with the electric feedback sound of 60's protest rock. Besides a commentary on the present day, the song presents us with an examination of the core of blues music, with lyrics that might fit comfortably into the repertoire of a bluesman from any era.
"Fall Apart" is gorgeous. The lyrics paint a melancholy picture of the actress in this tale, while the music layers depth and emotion onto the scene. Then in the chorus, as the horns add their voices, Jeff invites us with to re-examine the scene, through other eyes, from a longer point of view. "Too many sunsets change the season/ Everything put together falls apart." With an exquisite musical pun to highlight the point. In the final verse, the organ wells up, and we are again presented with a change of perspective to consider.
"Going Home" is the band's take on a traditional gospel song. It's sometimes been called "Troubles of the World" and sung almost as a dirge. On the road Jeff and his band have developed this song into a charming piece of inspiration. The music begins with almost mournful undertones, reminiscent of the old treatments. But soon the horns join in with a note of celebration, and Jeff begins singing in a voice somewhere in between. Growing with each verse, the song becomes a hymn, with Reba Russel's backing vocals straight out of an old gospel church and angelic musical imagery. In between verses, Jeff's guitar wails out the emotion of the singers soul.
Side A ends with "Paper Walls," a carnival of a song musically and lyrically, with instrumentation that seems simultaneously upsetting and compelling . Chris Stephenson's solo on Toy Piano is one of many treats packed into this song. The listener doesn't simply hear the storms or the singer's anger, they are experienced. This song is wonderful, as is the choice to end the side with it.
Side B begins with a cover of the Memphis Minnie classic "What's the Matter with the Mill," a rollicking duet between Jeff and Victor Wainwright. They have a fun time burning down the mill.
After the mill burns down is "Ash and Bone." Jeff's simple, powerful lyrics and the river created by Anne Harris's fiddle and James Cunningham's percussion combine into a stirring ballad. This song is a particular highlight of the album, poetic.
"Elephant Blue" is an instrumental track that seems to look back and reflect on another earlier song; "Pepper" from Road Worn & Ragged. It's a cool variation on the theme. For the next song, "Bad Bad Whiskey," Eric Hughes joins in with his harmonica, accenting the lamentations of the narrator.
Side B ends joyously back in Memphis with a cover of "I'll Always Be In Love With You," a song celebrating love, and peace with the memory of a lost love.
The last song on the album is a fun acoustic song with Gary Allegretto on harmonica called "Empty Bottles," presented as a bonus tack. Depending on whether one tends toward pessimism or optimism, the song seems a sequel or prequel to "Bad Bad Whiskey." With the refrain, "It's hard to stand for something when you can't stand at all," the song is a clever double entendre, with context from the title opposing the plaintive protests of the narrator.
"Morose Elephant" is a musical treat from front to back, and an important album in its own right, to be enjoyed over and over. This is blues music as fine art.