Jeremy Messersmith – The Reluctant Graveyard
May 4, 2010
Jeremy Messersmith’s an intriguing musician. One of the very best songwriters and performers I’ve stumbled upon in the last few years actually. His previous two albums were very solid releases containing songwriting that is far above average. And while I appreciated the quality of this man’s previous albums I can’t say I have been this excited about one of his albums before. With “The Reluctant Graveyard” Messersmith comes up with what might well be the most impressive release of 2010 so far.
On the album you hear a musician in top form. While listening to the songs you get flashbacks to the 60s and 70s quite often, but in fact, Messersmith takes you on a musical journey through all the great ages of music from the 50s up to now. And on tracks like Organ Donor and John The Determinist he isn’t afraid to use classical influences. In a song like Dillinger Eyes it’s hard not to see parallels to The Beatles (especially in the vocal arrangement) back when The Beatles were still rock & roll. And the wonderful melodic arrangement of Organ Donor reminds me of The Hollies a little. At times I also hear touches of Joe Jackson, Elliot Smith, Jeff Buckley, John Denver, Beach Boys, Oasis and Bob Dylan and I could go on with plenty of other bands and artists.
I know some of my colleagues might ask me if this isn’t reinventing the wheel. First of all, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with reinventing the wheel, every invention needs revisions sometimes. But no, I don’t think this is reinventing the wheel. I don’t know if all these people and bands were actual influences for Jeremy Messersmith, but there are so many different acts that come to mind, and all acts with both good quality work and commercial (and/or underground) success, that the only conclusion left to me is that both musically and when it comes to songwriting, Messersmith is a very original and creative artist. If he’s able to write and perform music that can reflect such a variety of musicians and bands he must be very complete and intelligent in the way he makes music.
And commercial success wouldn’t be such a stretch with possible radio singles like Lazy Bones, Dillinger Eyes and Violet for example. The album is very complete and is a good mix of pop, rock & roll and singer/songwriter music with influences drawn from chamber music, indie and americana at certain moments. “The Reluctant Graveyard” may be somewhat eclectic but it is also very accessible, and with musical gems such as ‘Dillinger Eyes’, ‘Violet’, ‘A Girl, A Boy & A Graveyard’ and the stripped down album closer Tomorrow, Messersmith delivers on every aspect on this excellent new album! But don’t take my word for it, check out the album which is streaming in its entirety on 89.3 The Current.