Using live loops, soundscapes, haunting melodies, bittersweet guitar and percussion, Jefferson Duke constructs his songs in front of an audience, producing a mix of ethereal indie folk with a strong pop-sensibility. His live-video single, ‘The Garden’ (now available here), has received incredible feedback and attention, leading to a number of festival appearances this summer. Jefferson is currently in the studio recording songs for his debut EP.
Simply put, this is an amazing and beautiful song that feels like a journey through the heart and soul of Jefferson Duke. There’s something vastly different about writing, composing, and performing songs with a band as opposed to a solo effort, but when it’s executed in this particular manner, the performance has an echoing beauty, which sits somewhere in-between. This is a truly unique effort that sounds like a solo performer with a band in his heart.
When I read an artist’s name prior to knowing their music, I always try to anticipate what he or she will sound like, but I never expected this. That a male performer like Jefferson Duke can create such a tender, powerful, and beautiful song, with a loop pedal and sampler no less, is just astonishing. This track restored my love for current generation musical performers in one listening. I sat there stunned by the beauty of this man’s talent. Five stars is not enough.
The sweet simplicity of the looped rhythm is a great counterpoint to the complex and sometimes painful sounding emotions that make up the lyrics to this song. Jefferson Duke’s voice is a revelation as it totally surpasses the initial surprise impact of the looped effects. It is what ultimately drives the tortured emotional core of ‘The Garden’.
Jefferson Duke has one of the most beautifully expressive voices I have heard in a while and this track of intimately blended music, really brings his vocals to the forefront. Reminding me often of the immensely expressive voices of our time, like Jeff Buckley, Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell, to only name a few.
In ‘The Garden’, the chords are fleshed out, the musical phrases build on each other, and the arrangement is rich and layered, resulting in a work with incredible emotional depth in the accompaniment, which melds together with the raw energy and expressiveness of Duke’s voice. There is little else in indie music today, at this level!