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Jericho Summer is the brainchild of husband and wife team Jay Zeffin and Vanessa Joy, who both have extensive experience in the music industry. The core musicians for the ‘Night Train’ project, alongside Zeffin, who provides guitar and vocals and vocalist Joy, are Tom Tyson who played bass and produced the record, guitarist Rodders Godders, Guy Lancaster who played Hammond organ and drummer/pianist John Marcangelo. This line-up is supplemented by double Grammy award winner Albert Lee and Richard Fortus of Guns N’ Roses, who contribute additional guitar work, bassist Marco Mendoza of Thin Lizzy/Blackstar Riders, Stuart Duncan who plays the fiddle, Alan Hawkshaw on keys and drummer Brett Morgan.

This release is a mixture of high tempo and high octane rockers and slower, ballad style tracks. It opens with the title track which is a bluesy, fast-paced effort and continues with ‘100 Times Again’ which features some good slide and electric guitar work, with Zeffin and Joy sharing vocal duties. Joy’s vocals provide the Country element of their self-proclaimed ‘Southern Country Rock’ label and, if it wasn’t for the subtle and occasional use of the fiddle and slide guitar, this record would pretty much be a straightforward blues rock effort.

Of the remaining tracks (there are 11 in total), the standouts for me are ‘Does It Matter’, which contains some good guitar and fiddle work and a strong vocal performance from Joy, and which is one of the more Country-style songs, and ‘Lonely Town’ which is a plaintive ballad featuring some accomplished piano playing.

I must admit that, at first listen, I didn’t really get a feel for this record but, after a few listens, its merits became apparent and I can now appreciate what Jericho Summer have produced here. For non-American listeners, some of the lyrics and phraseology may take a little getting used to as there is an emphasis, understandably, on the Southern US vernacular and it may sound rather strange.

It will be interesting to see how bands like Jericho Summer, and the genre of Southern Country Rock generally, develop as Country music has developed a strong offshoot itself in ‘New Country’, which can be quite heavy in style with almost metallic riffs. For those of you who may be interested in exploring the heavier side of New Country, check out ‘She’s Country’ by Jason Aldean and ‘Country must be Country Wide’ by Brantley Gilbert, as examples.

All in all, this record won’t be to everyone’s taste but, if you’re prepared to give it a listen (or several listens!), you may well find it a rewarding experience.
Devil's Blade Records
Review by Dave Uphill
26th August 2016
1) Night Train
2) 100 Times Again
3) Bitchin With A Woman
4) Does It Matter
5) Lonely Town
6) Good One Comin On
7) Red Neck Cousin
8) No Regrets
9) Coming Home
10) Live for the Moment
11) Running Free
"...if it wasn’t for the subtle and occasional use of the fiddle and slide guitar, this record would pretty much be a straightforward blues rock effort."