Right Hear, Right Now

New Music from Jane N' The Jungle, Huckleberry, The Ricky Fitts and More

New Music from Jane N' The Jungle, Huckleberry, The Ricky Fitts and More
Video Still by RaySquared - Ray² Productions

Jane N' The Jungle - "Walking Cleopatra"
Long before Jane N' The Jungle released their debut EP, in fact right from the first show of theirs I ever saw, one song by them stood out above the rest. "Walking Cleopatra" is finally the single and the video I always hoped it would be. For my money, it's still the finest song the band has recorded. While I adore the rockers JNTJ throw down like "Shake Me Out" and "Smoke & Dust," their talents and songwriting really come through in their slower numbers. "Walking Cleopatra" is the finest example of this, and I think it spotlights Jordan White's vocal prowess in a way that a rocker wouldn't allow. It also gives you a chance to really absorb the powerful lyricism. This song sounds like a bit of a confessional, but regardless, it's a story song and no matter how many times I've heard it, I love hearing the story again and again. "My mother said to be nice, and a little stupid, you can have the moon" has to be one of the best lines ever fit into a song locally. Over a year on since I first heard this tune it still gives me goosebumps, and now we get to enjoy it with a visually powerful video from Rachel Smith of Ray Squared Productions.

click to enlarge Huckleberry - PHOTO BY ERIC FAIRCHILD
Photo by Eric Fairchild
Huckleberry - "Working Backwards"
I'm glad I can depend on Huckleberry for a full-length album on odd-numbered years. Last year we were teased with a stunning EP, but for my money an EP is not enough time to spend with the easy-on-your-soul sound of Huckleberry. In 2013 they blew the scene away with their Americana-drenched debut Fine Highway. They followed it up in 2015 with the self-reflective and equally amazing Problems, and now they are on the cusp of releasing Natural Selector. "Working Backwards" is the pre-album single, and right from the lap steel start it's dripping with Huckleberry's signature sound. Huckleberry's sound is distinctive because it blends a 1970s-rock vibe with a more modern alt-country/Americana sound, which almost comes full circle to the likes of The Flying Burrito Brothers or Poco, but stays true to this century somehow. Huckleberry's music puts my soul at ease, lets my mind catch up a minute, and allows me to breathe easier. I'm damn glad they've got a full album coming in April. Check out "Working Backwards" and get lost in the front porch, down home, indie-rocking chair vibe Huckleberry has to offer.

Photo by Surrealsister Photog
JAM NOW - "Believe It's Possible"
When Jam Austin Murray isn't throwing down some impressive bass work with Vintage Wednesday, he's pursuing his own musical vision as JAM NOW. Clearly, Murray is going to be the kind of impresario who will either achieve fame early on or will end up being integral to a dozen bands during the course of their existence. If you've ever been around him you know that he simply radiates authentic positivity. It comes out of his pores like light from the sun. If you think I'm overstating the case of Murray's attitudinal altitude, please refer to his amazing little single "Believe It's Possible." Liberally littered with literary lyrical nods to Lewis Carroll and his Wonderland, Jam uses Alice as his allegorical heroine for an optimistic parable. I'm not sure if it's more impressive musically or lyrically, but maybe I shouldn't fret, because it all comes together beautifully as an anthem of hope, positivity and celebrating all that is possible. If nothing else, this may be the all out happiest song you hear in 2017, so I'd advise you keep it by your side at all times. JAM NOW will be celebrating this single release Friday, February 17, at Alice Cooperstown, where Joe Vito, Headstrum, The Sink or Swim, and DAISY will be joining the Tea Party, and all the proceeds from the song will be donated to Alice Cooper's Solid Rock teen center.

People. - "Little Tuesday Weld"
You may know Rob Kroehler as one of the guys behind Loveblisters and Ladylike, but now he's got a whole new project simply called People. At least he doesn't have to worry about an ever-changing lineup with a name like that, and this current project appears to be a pretty open collaboration with like-minded musicians. "Little Tuesday Weld" is the title track from People.'s debut EP, and it's probably the closest thing to a single to be found, if this was 1973. It features a who's who of local notables including Andrew Dost (fun.) and Lou Kummerer (Loveblisters) lending their vocals, Andrew Tholl (touring member of Julia Holter's band) playing violin, and of course, Danny Torgersen (Captain Squeegee) playing trumpet. This song, and much of Kroehler's work, is pure American music, steeped in Vaudeville vibes and the music hall traditions. Kroehler has always been able to send my mind on vacation to a simpler time in a simpler land with simpler concerns. It's a place and time that never existed, but it's nice to go there for three or four minutes.

The Ricky Fitts - "Into The Sun"

The Ricky Fitts put out some impressive tunes last year aiming at releasing an EP in the new year. Well, the New Year came and much to the surprise of many, The Ricky Fitts went all out and released a full-length album called The Great Beyond on the last day of January. Last year's "Nightmare" made the cut and it's still one of the best songs, but the whole album has a few gems throughout. I keep coming back to "Into The Sun." It's got an early alternative dance sound that reminds the ear of when new wave was quickly converting college audiences into what became alternative pop. This could have come straight out of 1987. Like that music though, it's got great beats and some synth hooks, but it's the vocal line that captures my attention on repeated listens. The Ricky Fitts will be playing a dual record release show with DAISY, featuring support from Weslynn and Luxxe, at Crescent Ballroom tonight (February 16).

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Mitchell Hillman