Track listing: Dreams on Fire, Women Under Sun, Where'd My Surfers Go, Weird Iceland Hotel Dinner, Syracuse Lawn Chair, Sept on a Ridge, He Got Religion, Queen Bee Gone, Dining with Horses, Dusty Italian Bike (Live)
Groove Atlantic-O is the latest release by Richmond, Virginia product Stephen Jacques. It's a no-nonsense singer/songwriter collection of compellingly concise short stories. A head-on approach, the way Guy Clark describes a pub, an emotion, or some odd series of events. But Jacques is light-hearted and relaxed in demeanor, as much of a Nick Lowe vibe with affability of Steve Forbert as anyone else.
There's not a whole lot of mystery in Jacques songwriting. "Slept on a Ridge" is about a trek that involved sleeping on a mountain ridge. "Weird Iceland Hotel Dinner" addresses his "stomach's gurgly sound" after a questionable meal (can you eat puffin?) And you can take a guess as to where and what "Syracuse Lawn Chair" deals with.
It's the every day. It's simple. Honest. But the beauty is in all of that. Jacques brings full-band plaintive chord progressions to an otherwise uninteresting chair in upstate New York. He tells the story surrounding the moment. We see what's happening around the ridge he found himself upon. "Dusty Italian Bike" takes you to the Italian shoreline, diving into his exchange with a woman he met along the way.
Groove Atlantic-O is a Sunday afternoon on a porch, or a late night in a smoky bar. It represents those times we often yearn for but also tend to forget because they're not monumental. But they represent the times between the momentous occasions when we take a breath and remember that gruff bartender or that hot summertime rainstorm. Little oddities yet special memories all the same.
Keep up with all things Stephen Jacques at boxofmoxie.net.