One of the perks of being a music review editor is getting new music in the mail. I love being given access to special downloads and streaming audio by bands and managers, but getting an actual album or CD in the mail is a great thrill, especially when it’s something as good as Cody Jasper’s self-titled album.
This 38-minute record is one slick display of outlaw music. The opener, “Black Cadillac,” features handclaps, floor stomps, and Jasper’s plea to the Lord to save his soul from the Devil who is “drivin’ his train.” Jasper admits he’s lived a life of sin and wishes he could take it back, although it sounds like he had fun doing it. It’s a perfect opener
because it will instantly make you want to hear the rest of the record (and Nick Jay’s organ and piano work on it is fantastic).
“Cherry Pie” is, thankfully, not a cover of the Warrant song and is instead a showcase for Jasper’s sizzling guitar and punch-you-in-the-face vocals. It sounds like he wrote it while riding in the back of ZZ Top’s Elminator hot rod. “Evil Woman” isn’t a cover of the ELO song (although I think a cover of it by Jasper would be neat, to say the least). It is a track that will infect you with Head Nodding Syndrome, however, because it thumps with strip club drums, rock licks that will make Lenny Kravitz jealous, and organ that would make Jeff Lynne proud. “The Deal Is Done” is a fun track about Jasper wanting to get laid but first needing to jump through several hoops to get between the “Holy Water” changes directions for the album, as it’s a bit of a melancholy song about Jasper trying to explain to his girl how things went bad. You can’t help but think he might work it out with her, however, as he and his backing band (Nick Jay on bass, piano, and organ, Jordan Cain and Charlie Jones on drums, J.T. Holt on lap steel and guitar, and Jason Burt on guitar as well) knock out uplifting music that would, go figure with a title like “Holy Water,” fit right into a modern day hymn.“Mona Lisa” is about Leonardo DaVinci and the complex math he used while painting the mysterious figure. Just kidding, but you might think that Jasper’s rhythmic guitar riff on it is like a deceptively hard math problem. It’s so crisp and precise that I couldn’t take my ears off it, especially when it drifts into a slight shoegaze feel that blew
my mind. “Rosemary” is a blues song wrapped in a rock tune and delivered by a postman who sings in a soul band at night. Jasper and his guitar also pay a little respect to Robin Trower on it, which is never a bad thing.
“Snow White” is a song about cocaine and how pissed the character in it is with the fact that he’s never satisfied with anything: his girl, his fast car, his cash, or even his coke. I hope this song isn’t about Jasper’s personal experience, because it portrays a brutal picture (as any good song about drug addiction should). It reminds me of a lot of characters from the film version of American Psycho. The closer, “Someday,” is grand, with swelling guitars and organs, powerful drums, and Jasper’s desire to find the truth and his call for us to do the same.
Someday Cody Jasper will be a powerful and respected name in not only outlaw music circles, but the rock world as well. Judging by this excellent debut, I think that day is right around And if you need more motivation to root for this guy, he still uses his great-grandfather’s 1959 Ephiphone Zephyr amp. How frickin’ cool is that?
~ Nik Havert
Nik Havert is a writer, DJ at WSND 88.9FM University of Notre Dame, harmonica player, martial arts instructor, comic book publisher, crime fighter,music lover, cult movie enthusiast, and modern day Renaissance man. He hopes to shark cage dive sometime in the next few years and enjoys travel and good natural root beer. Visit his web site at http://www.picklepress.net.
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