Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Jefferson Pilot: Hello Mississippi!
I want to bring your attention to a wonderful new album by Jefferson Pilot, Hello Mississippi!. (Full disclosure: Jefferson Pilot is my brother, Jeff Byrd.) Over the last few years, Jeff has been writing, playing drums and keyboards, and singing in a trio, Dark Carpet. In addition to duo projects with each of the other members of Dark Carpet (Lassie with Colin, Blackman with Tracy), he has been working on solo material under the name Jefferson Pilot. Hello Mississippi! is his first full-length solo album, and it's a humdinger of a release: wonderful, (sometimes) warped, and (sometimes) beautiful rock, pop, funk, and experimental songs. Each song is its own unique sound universe, with lots of little aural events in each one, and the sum total is an extravaganza of sounds and tunes. Lots of voice effects, unexpected twists and turns, strangely catchy melodies, imaginative and driving drum beats: there's a lot going on here, but the overall effect is not busy or cluttered--it's invigorating and exciting. Except for bass and guitar on a couple of tracks (played by Colin), Jeff is playing everything here, including lots of overdubbed vocals. Jefferson Pilot has taken the lo-fi aesthetic of Guided By Voices and combined it with the play-it-all aesthetic of Todd Rundgren and the play-anything aesthetic of the Residents. Those aren't direct referents or influences by any means here, but just my feeble attempt to describe the soundscapes here. I have too many favorite songs to single any out (and they keep changing), but I will note that the album opens with the voice of our father, taken from a road trip in 1969, and closes with a unique take on a mysterious found tape of an unknown band's painful studio rehearsal. This album is aural gold, and I couldn't be prouder of Jeff's accomplishment. I encourage anyone reading this to get over to Bandcamp and download or stream the album and see what you think!