Jacob Evans - Just Breathe
Local guitarist and singer/songwriter extraordinaire Jacob Evans is a force to be reckoned with. I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts to really move beyond Savannah in the coming year—Just Breathe is the only argument you really need for that prediction.
From the opening song “New Times,” you definitely get the sense that you’re hearing from someone who listens to everything. The production on the song is so unique and even utilizes a field recording of a crowd, which enhances the vibe that is already so present throughout the song. It’s equal parts folk, neo soul, blues, jazz, and pop—as is the rest of the release.
“You Can” is probably my favorite song on this record, and certainly a standout. Evans’ amazing voice really stands out here, as does the angular and behind-the-beat Questlove-esque drums (and the drum sound itself). Complete with horns and a minimal approach to production, this is the kind of soul music that we need in 2020 because it feels modern while also paying homage to its influences.
The fuzz guitar in the solo is staggering and so wonderfully done that it lifts this already great song to even greater heights. To my ears, it’s reminiscent of the best work from the legendary Funkadelic (Maggot Brain vibes, anyone?).
The album ends with “Luke 21:19,” a beautiful piano-based song that’s just jazzy enough to be jazz. It’s unfair to end the description there, though, because what Evans does here is create something wholly listenable with absolutely no lyrics whatsoever pulling it through. It’s not an instrumental either, because Evans scats all the way through in what might be one of the best vocal performances I’ve heard in a long time.
All in all, there’s no way around it—this is an album that needs to be in everyone’s homes, Savannah and beyond. That’s why I began by saying that I feel Evans won’t be confined to our city for very long. His artistry and creativity could obliterate just about anything in the mainstream right now, and I’m ready to see him try.
Just Breathe is available now on streaming platforms.
Matthew Jaidev - Victory
Savannah’s Matthew Jaidev recently released Victory, an album he describes as his magnum-opus. It’s a bold statement, for sure, but it absolutely has the makings of that kind of record. Jaidev brings forth a new take on acoustic and piano-based anthemic songwriting, employing a variety of soundscapes and drum machine loops in the process.
What’s most compelling about this album is the fearlessness Jaidev has in his production. There’s ethereal, almost U2-esque guitar work on songs like “Untethered Souls,” but there’s also classical influences coming through on the piano-centric “Awakening the Bright Future.” This is world music in the truest sense of the world, as it really does evoke the sounds and artistic footprints of many different cultures.
“Southern Isle” is a standout here, with its 6/4 time signature and cinematic percussion. Diversity continues with “Love Will You Bring You Home,” which finds Jaidev providing rhythm through beatboxing.
The album ends with “Let It Rise,” which is the perfect song for those who are interested in modern folk and Americana music that truly does source traditional melodies in creative ways. This is something Jaidev does really well, with conviction and precision.
Victory is available at matthewjaidev.bandcamp.com