Gary Jules has made short work of the music industry’s “keep out” approach to virtual unknowns. Musical spots on Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko and an episode of TV drama “Grey’s Anatomy” bought Jules a one-way ticket to the favored lists of top music mags. And he’s used the foothold to rise from L.A. basement studios to a European tour with Bob Dylan.
Bird reaffirms that while he’s won the loyalty of The Man, he isn’t afraid to keep doing what he loves. With an impressive vocal range and soft, morning-light acoustics, Jules proves he’s more in touch with folk and country roots than most three-minute indie rants. Each song on Bird launches a new story, a new cast of characters, a new narrator—beginning, middle and end nine times over.
Lyrics sparkle as much as the voice peddling them, drawn from some everywhere in Jules’ mind. He could have dreamt up his music in the bayous of Louisiana or on the bays of California. Inspiration and theme are borrowed from the vast North American continent, not simply a playground in his backyard.
Though Jules stays true to the style that won him higher acclaim, Bird breaths a sigh of relief for brighter horizons. As Jules croons in his album-ender, “The old days are gone/hallelujah.”
Gary Jules & the Group Rules opens for Donavon Frankenreiter at the Wilma Theatre Friday, March 6, at 8:30 PM. $22/$20 advance.