192

Nate Farrar: Shell Shocked

By

Sign in to view read count
Nate Farrar: Shell Shocked According to the hard-bitten world view of Nate Farrar's Shell Shocked, the only certainty in life is drinking; to be more precise, the only certainty is heavy drinking, the kind that finds you waking up on a stranger's floor and staggering woozily out the door. "If money isn't made for drinkin'," Farrar sings, "what the hell is it for?" His barstool-philosopher fatalism is so finely honed that listeners might be tempted to join him at the bar for a whiskey or three. Luckily, Farrar has married his intoxicated words to intoxicating music.

The thirteen engaging compositions on Shell Shocked are rooted firmly in Mississippi Delta Blues, which functions as a framework for Farrar's existential musings. His brooding lyrics are at turns surreal and all-too-real; he seems to always be leaving some seedy location and heading somewhere equally hopeless, all the while nursing a perpetual bender. When he requests a "one-way ticket into hell" in "Scarsdale," it appears those other places have just been pit stops on the way to his inevitable destination.

Despite Farrar's dissolute sensibility, an undercurrent of droll humor runs throughout, coming to the surface on the rib-tickling "Not a Fool in Love":

Do you have insurance
A healthy relationship with your mother
Do you have any VDs
Or a Nietzschesque jealous brother?

The tunes on Shell Shocked range in mood from forlorn to footstomping. Farrar delivers his vocals with conviction and gutsy authenticity, and he is bolstered by a band of talented Philadelphia-based jazz musicians: Tom Spiker contributes scorching electric guitar solos, embellishing several tracks with some fine pedal steel work; Evan Lipson provides a solid foundation on bass; and drummer Matt Scarano is right on the money, expertly evoking rainfall on "As the Rain Comes Down." The confident production by Stephen Rak portends an auspicious future for the fledgling BwO imprint; everything from the stripped-down studio sound to the DIY cover art reflects an already distinct aesthetic, stark though it may be.

Nate Farrar's debut recording is an uncanny take on the blues that repays replays, but his potential is surely too vast to be confined to one style. Hopefully Shell Shocked is only the first of many projects in a long and adventurous career.


Track Listing: Let Me Down; Moonlight's Just a Memory; Rottin' Playground; Let Me Sleep; Money and Drinkin'; Ballad for a Soldier; Dry Stone Jail; Shell Shocked; 'Til the Last Dream is Gone; Scarsdale; Not a Fool in Love; Tomorrow's a Mess; As the Rain Comes Down.

Personnel: Nate Farrar: guitar, vocals; Evan Lipson: upright bass; Matt Scarano: drums; Tom Spiker: mixing board, electric guitar, pedal steel.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Self Produced | Style: Blues


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Flowers" CD/LP/Track Review Flowers
by John Sharpe
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "Avant Funk" CD/LP/Track Review Avant Funk
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 26, 2016
Read "District 6" CD/LP/Track Review District 6
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 12, 2016
Read "Some Other Time" CD/LP/Track Review Some Other Time
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 21, 2016
Read "Eight Track II" CD/LP/Track Review Eight Track II
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 1, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!