Joan Shelley quickly followed her acclaimed 2014 album Electric Ursa with Over and Even, a quieter, more contemplative set recorded in her home state of Kentucky. It was an album of the year at NPR Music and in the Los Angeles Times, and was given 4 stars in Rolling Stone, who called it “a masterfully turned set of folk reflections.” Shelley made the record with guitarist Nathan Salsburg, recording the bulk of the tracks over just two days. She has since toured the US and Europe, and will release a new album in 2017. Her latest release is the 2 song 7” single “Cost of the Cold” b/w “Here and Whole”.
Durham, North Carolina singer and guitarist Jake Xerxes Fussell’s self-titled debut record, produced by and featuring William Tyler, transmutes ten arcane folk and blues tunes into vibey cosmic laments and crooked riverine rambles. Jake Xerxes (yes, that’s his real middle name, after Georgia potter D.X. Gordy) grew up in Columbus, Georgia, son of Fred C. Fussell, a folklorist, curator, and photographer who hails from across the river in Phenix City, Alabama (once known as “The Wickedest City in America” for its rampant vice, corruption, and crime.) Fred’s fieldwork took him, often with young Jake in tow, across the Southeast documenting traditional vernacular culture, which included recording blues and old-time musicians with fellow folklorists and recordists George Mitchell and Art Rosenbaum (which led Jake to music, and to some of the songs herein) and collaborating with American Indian artists (which led Jake eventually to his graduate research on Choctaw fiddlers.)