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Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Gothic alt-country

Status:

Most recent release, Marble Son (2011)

See also:

Jesse Syke's site

Jesse Syke's MySpace page

Comparisons:

Neil Young; receives comparisons to Cat Power, Grace Slick, and Karen Dalton

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

Jesse Sykes is a husky-voiced singer formerly of the group Hominy. She writes most of the songs, occasionally co-writing with The Sweet Hereafter's Phil Wandscher, a former member of Whiskeytown. Together, and with the rest of the band, they've perfected a moody sound rooted in alt-country, Americana, and folk. Often melancholy and haunting, their music is nonetheless far from depressing. Each of the three albums they've released to date shares a similar aesthetic, but each has a different feel. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Recommended first album:

Any

Recordings:


Reckless Burning

Release info:

2002—Burn Burn Burn (4040 Woodland Park Ave N #4, Seattle, WA 98103)—BBB005

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Jesse Sykes—vocals, acoustic guitar
Phil Wandscher—guitar, harmonium, piano, organ, backing vocals
Anne Marie Ruljancich—violin, cello
Bill Herzog—upright bass, electric bass, backing vocals
Kevin Warner—drums

Guest artists:

Bruce Wirth—organ (3); banjo, lap steel
Steve Moore—mellotron, piano (5); organ (8); keyboards (9)
Tucker Martine—percussion and field sounds

Produced by:

Tucker Martine

Comments:

Dark and introspective. The black and white cover photo of Jesse Sykes smoking a cigarette in a diner alone perfectly captures the mood of this lovely album. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Oh, My Girl

Release info:

2004—Barsuk Records—BARK36

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Jesse Sykes—vocals, acoustic guitar
Phil Wandscher—guitars, harmonium, organ, vocals
Anne Marie Ruljancich—viola, vocals
Bill Herzog—upright bass, vocals
Kevin Warner—drums, percussion

Guest artists:

Dave Carter—flugelhorn
Jon Hyde—additional acoustic guitar (4); pedal steel (8)
Tucker Martine—field sounds; percussion (3, 4, 5); drums (9)
Ian Parks—banjo, mandolin
Greg Reading—pedal steel (2, 5, 10); organ (3)
Ron Weinstein—Hammond B-3 (6, 10)

Produced by:

Tucker Martine

Comments:

Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter's masterpiece. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Like, Love, Lust & The Open Halls of the Soul

2007—Barsuk Records—BARK62

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Jesse Sykes—vocals, acoustic guitar
Phil Wandscher—guitars, harmonica, lap steel, keyboards, piano, vocals; choir (4)
Anne Marie Ruljancich—viola, vocals; choir (4)
Bill Herzog—electric and upright bass, vocals; choir (4)
Eric Eagle—drums, percussion; hand claps (3); choir (4)

Guest artists:

Micah Hulscher—piano, harmonium
Steve Moore—keyboards, organ; hand claps (3)
Eyvind Kang—viola and violin (5); string and horn arrangements (3-5)
Wayne Horvitz—Hammond B:3 (2, 6)
Gretchen Yanover—cello
Dave Carter—trumpet
Craig Flory—saxophone
Josiah Boothby—French horn
Ben O'Shea—trombone
Billy Joe Huel—trumpet (9)
Ron Weinstein—Hammond B:3 (9)
Tucker Martine—additional percussion (4, 6, 12); hand claps (3)
Nicolai Dunger—additional backup vocals (9); choir (4)
Barton Carroll, Angie Benintendi, Vivian Linden, Apple Martine, Mike McNaughton, Christy McWilson, Carla Torgenson, Drew Whittemore—choir (4)

Produced by:

Tucker Martine (1, 4, 5); Martin Feveyear (6, 7, 9-12); Randall Dunn (2, 6, 8, 11)

Comments:

Like, Love, Lust has a dark intensity (not melancholic, more shadowy). The title comes from tattoos on a man Sykes met in Reno. As the story goes, "He was covered in tattoos, and he had three scripted L's tattooed on his wrist... When I asked him what it meant, he said, 'Like, Love, Lust, baby'—and he pointed at his wife and said, 'That's all that matter. You got that, and you got everything.'" (JoAnn Whetsell)

The critics are loving the Jesse Sykes, but I think I'm definitely missing the melancholy from her last album, which was absolutely haunting... The same thing the critics love (the up-tempo, driving stuff) is the same thing that I think is making this one harder to get into for me. Like I just can't quite get beneath the surface of the thing... It's too regulated or something. I miss my moody ambient reverb. (timjy@sbcglobal.net)


Marble Son

Release info:

2011—Thirty Tigers—616892160960; Station Grey—SG-001

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Jesse Sykes—vocals, guitars
Phil Wandscher—guitars, organ, moog, casio, lap steel vocals
Bill Herzog—bass, vocals
Eric Eagle—drums, percussion, vocals

Guest artists:

Anne Marie Ruljancich—viola (2, 9); additional background vocals (9)
Eyvand Kang—viola (4, 11)
Jason Merculief—all percussion (7, 9); additional percussion (2, 3, 5)
Bill Patton—pedal steel (2, 9, 10)
Chris Zasche—pedal steel (2, 3)
John Roderick—acoustic guitar and chorale participation (6)
Jason Staczek—piano (5)
Jeremy Manley—piano (4)

Produced by:

Jesse Sykes and Phil Wandscher, with Mell Dettmer

Comments:

Another great album. I love how it builds on the dark intensity of Like, Love, Lust & The Open Halls of the Soul. The band is more prominent, given free rein at times to wander and paint psychedelic swirls. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Further info:

Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter covered "Weary Blues From Waiting" for the tribute album Hard Headed Woman: A Celebration of Wanda Jackson (2004). Jesse Sykes and Mount Analog collaborated on a cover of "River Man" for the tribute album Poor Boy: Songs of Nick Drake (2004).


Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2013-05-05 21:56:31.
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