The Ragged Jubilee is a Californian enigma. It’s hard to believe that such solid blues and rock can come from beach towns, and make such a heartfelt impact on the scene. Last July, their album American Moan was released, and I gave it much praise in its review.
The crew from San Luis Obispo returns now with their latest LP, In The Valley. On it you will of course still find front man/guitarist Ethan Burns getting his Bob Seger on. Still in cahoots with his brothers in blues, the album gains points for enhanced studio quality, while still staying within the roots of what I believe the band is trying to accomplish.
After a minute intro track, we break into the album strong with the second track, Whiskey. As the name suggests, it’s a love\hate track dedicated to the amber ambrosia and the shenanigans that ensue when it’s around. What drew me to this song was the harmonica solo about half way through, before a breakdown and slowing the tempo down. Ethan admits he can’t let it go, before the band picks back up to close out the song.
More of a single man’s mantra than a song, Hey Mama is the sixth track on The Valley.
Hey Mama, won’t you come back again?
He yells over and over, beckoning to the Southern (California that is) Belle he’s wishing would come back in his life. The pace feels like something to gallop on your horse to, with heavy tambourine and banjo riffs to boot. Listen for a welcome trumpet solo towards to end to round this one out.
With a low down bass intro, the tenth track, The Moan carved its way into the favorite track slot. I picture a dusty western motel, with the right people there for all the wrong reasons. As far as The Ragged Jubilee and blues are concerned, this is their best on the album. With lyrics about trying to give her love too late, he turns to the devilish ways, and gives a simple statement to either a whiskey bottle, a woman at the bar, or both: moan for me baby.
Clocking in at eight minutes long, there is plenty to be enjoyed. Check out what the band is up to on their Facebook, and give their new album a listen!
Until next time me friends,