Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons
It’s no secret.
I am a Jerry Joseph fan.
I often take pride in ruffling the feathers of those who don’t care for the sometimes-abrasive songwriter with my rants of his greatness.
When I heard Jerry’s longtime band the Jackmormons had grown to five deep, I was anxious, yet a little reserved about the new incarnation. Would the addition of Little Women guitarist Steve James take away from Jerry’s thunder? And would percussionist Steve Drizos make an impact with the utter loudness of the Jackmormons?
After missing my opportunity to catch one of their post-Widespread Panic shows in Winter Park, I arrived at Boulder’s Fox Theatre ready to go. The opening “K-Line” kicked things off, serving as a convincing argument for the band’s new arrangement. James’ presence did in fact tone down Jerry’s guitar; however, it also provided a more rounded result. Jerry’s play seems less aggressive, with more down tempo twists and turns.
This helped to answer my second question: the additional musicians had a reverse effect of what I had expected. Rather than being too much fat to chew, there was more elbow room in every song. The presence of percussionist Drizo did in fact manage to break the sound barrier.
During “The Jump,” Jerry took the reins for a moment, delivering the thick riffs that Jackmormon fans are used to, occasionally playing rhythm to his own lead. Then, with a blessed “We Will Go Down,” everything drifted back toward the newly balanced sound.
Added vocals, another guitar, and some hard-working percussion have built nicely on the garage rock sound of Brad, Junior and Jerry’s cigarette-stained efforts. As they segued into “Good Sunday” I found no reason to hold reservation toward the new Jackmormons.
Before launching into a section of material off the new release Into the Lovely, Joseph dropped a red hot “Belmont Radiator” as a pleasant little surprise. The depth of material Jerry has written leaves many seldom-traveled roads lying in wait. Songs like “Thistle” may be shelved for a while and then pulled back out, kicking and screaming all along the way.
“Thistle > USA” started a segue of songs that did not let up until the band had ripped thru “Comes a Time > Mohawk > Comes a Time > Mohawk” flawlessly moving from one song to the other and back.
The Jackmormons are, without a doubt, a must-see when they come screaming through your town. The new instrumentation of the band and the more balanced sound will appeal to a larger crowd, winning over some of the holdouts and disbelievers.
I hope that this fall brings the enlarged Jackmormons to the southeast, and maybe Steve and Jerry will see fit to dust off a few more Little Women songs now that they’ve been joined by some old friends.