Plenty of Good Layers

Parish Bar (Compass Records)
Jeb Loy Nichols

By Ronke Oyekunle

Jeb Loy Nichols' album Parish Bar displays a mixture of sounds. From jazz to country, it becomes apparent from each track what genres had an influence on Nichols. Parish Bar as Nichols describes it "was made at home […] in-between other projects […] a layer at a time."

One word could describe this album, roots. The album describes Nichols' influences and memories. The first track, "Countrymusicdisco45," is Nichols reminiscing the times he spent in Jamaica at parish bars dancing the night away, even to country music.

The title "Just a Country Boy" seems self-explanatory, but the melodic structure of the piece is what explains the true depth of the title. "Satan's Helper" has a lazy drag that describes the vices of life. "My Kind" has a relaxed funky groove, while "Neath the Cold Ground" has a rock 'n' roll feel with blues vocals. "I took a memory to lunch" is like strolling down an old city street on a peaceful summer day. The retro style makes it easy to imagine Nichols daydreaming about a girl he once knew after just bumping into her on the street.

The lyrical style of Parish Bar is eclectic. The compilation of songs serves the right purpose in displaying several musical genres in one album to explain a life, a feeling, or to set the mood and tone of his surroundings. Nichols projects his broad range of musical knowledge in this album, yet he maintains a relaxed vocal style, which is a feature he would be happy with or as he put it, "just relax and have a good time."

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