Although he has long flown under the mainstream radar, Jerry Joseph has maintained a fanatical following nonetheless. He took the Rockies and Northwest by storm in the 1980s with his rock/reggae group Little Women, toured with the hard-rocking Jackmormons, and collaborated with long-time musical allies Widespread Panic. He's a force of nature.
He recently released this full-length album, along with dobro player Bret Mosley and drummer Steve Drizos. Largely acoustic and recorded entirely over a three-day session with vintage technology (think analog tape), the sound is raw, enigmatic and intense—just like Joseph himself. From the title track—a powerful tune about Election Day '08, in which Joseph cautions, "Don't tell us that it's up to us, we'll only let us down"—to the a cappella "On Time God," about receiving help when you actually need it, not when you think you do, Joseph unfolds tunes that are honest, cynical and quirky, delivered in an unpolished, been-around-the-block voice. Yet the EP includes unexpected offerings as well, like a cover of Modest Mouse's "Missed the Boat," or the almost-upbeat tune "Isabella Bird." Together, they support the notion that Joseph is just as talented—and just as unpredictable—as ever.
Jerry Joseph plays solo at the Palace Tuesday, Dec. 15, at 9 PM with Wartime Blues. $8.