SoCal alt-country outfit Jimbo Pap will drop their debut album, It Can Always Get Worse, September 13, via Fiesta Red Records.
Initially, the album began as the solo project of Jim Bowers, who, after meeting Bo Brannen, invited Brannen to play dobro at the first recording session. Prior to the second session, the two were at a party, where they met singer-pianist Pap Shirock, who they invited to the studio. Before long, the threesome became Jimbo Pap, a name formed by fusing together Jim Bowers, Bo Brannen, and Pap Shirock.
To give the recording a richer sound, Kip Boardman (bass) and Kaitlin Wolfberg (fiddle) joined them in the studio and at live shows.
Explaining the album’s cover photo, depicting Bowers’ great-grandmother pushing a shopping cart, Bowers says, “It’s a way for us to express gratitude. We get used to life’s setbacks; in fact we’ve come to expect them. We carry on, knowing that it could be so much worse.”
The album’s title came courtesy of Pap Shirock, who supplied the title after seeing the cover art.
Encompassing 11-tracks, the album begins with “Submission (Nice Pants),” which rides a deliciously sinuous SoCal country-rock melody reminiscent of the Eagles and Poco. The drawling cry of the steel guitar infuses the tune with slow aching colors, as the tasty vocal harmonies glide overhead.
From a subjective perspective, highlights include “Long Kiss Goodbye,” traveling on an austere melody topped by Bower’s voice. As the band joins in, the harmonics expand and swell, prior to dropping down once again, when gorgeous creamy backing harmonies suffuse the song.
“Queen Of My Lonely Little World” exudes scrumptious downhome country flavors akin to the heady days of Patsy Cline, as Shirock’s exquisitely dulcet tones imbue the tune with tantalizing melancholic savors. The title track opens on layers of acoustic guitars and Brannen’s dobro flowing into a yummy concoction of interweaving accents and colors.
The final track, “Someone’s Gonna Love Me Again” kicks things up a notch, delivering muscular guitars and a thumping, contagious rhythm, as well as a stellar guitar solo, nuanced by searing hues.
It Can Always Get Worse is wonderfully wrought, full of tangible textures, alluring rhythms, and beguiling vocal inflections. Indeed, it’s undoubtedly one of the best Americana albums of the year.
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