Artist: JEFF BLACK
Album: B-Sides And Confessions, Vol. 2
Release Date: 2013
Label: Lotos Nile Music

JEFF BLACK: Vocals, Guitars, Piano, Keyboards,
Banjo, Bass,Harmonica, Programming & Percussion
SAM BUSH: Mandolin, Fiddle
JERRY DOUGLAS: Resonator Guitar & Lap Steel
KENNY WRIGHT: Drums & Percussion on Avalon
MATRACA BERG: Harmony Vocals on Avalon
GRETCHEN PETERS: Harmony Vocals on Avalon
SCOT EVANS: Bass on Molly Rose and Alice Carry

Produced by JEFF BLACK
Executive Producer KISSY BLACK
Recorded by JEFF BLACK at Arcana Studios
Mixed by DAVE SINKO at The Groove Palace
Mastered by ERIC CONN at Independent Mastering
Photographs By MICHAEL WILSON
Layout and Design TORNE WHITE

Jeff Black plays Epiphone Masterbilt Banjos, Paige capos, Morley Pedals, Impact Picks, Palomino Blackwing and Blackwing 602 pencils

All songs written by Jeff Black
© 2013 Lotos Nile Music BMI
except An Evil Lesson Is Soon Learned
© Jeff Black Music/Coburn Music BMI
All Rights Reserved




Hyperbolium - Moving set of originals from a master singer-songwriter
February 1, 2013


Nashville singer-songwriter Jeff Black complements his previous volume of B-sides and Confessions (one he presciently suffixed with "Vol. 1" back in 2003) with this second helping. It's an unexpected treat, given that his last album, Plow Through the Mystic, is just a year old. Though a couple of tracks, including the lead-off "All Right Now," end too quickly, the notion of "B Sides" is more a humble moment of self-deprecation than a fair assessment of the material's quality and readiness. The latter half of the album's title is the more apt description, as Black's country-tinged folk music is personal and touching. Whether singing in his own voice or that of characters, Black's songs are revealing in their observation point. "Alice Carry" is a widow looking back, but rather than memorializing regret at what wasn't, she displays contentment with what was. Black turns inward for "True Love Never Let Me Down," but rather than simply observing himself, he observes others critiquing his work. Black is joined by fellow singer-songwriters Matraca Berg and Gretchen Peters, and instrumentalists Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas, but as on all his previous releases, his words and voice hold down center stage with a craft so deeply in the artistic pocket that it obscures anything outside.

4-1/2 stars out of 5

©2013 Hyperbolium



From Wildy Haskell's Reviews

Jeff Black brings old school, road-warrior attitude into the digital age. No stranger to the highways and byways, Black also uses his podcast, Black Tuesdays,to connect fans and try out new things. The result is that Black has one of the most fervent followings in the alt-Americana genre. Acknowledged as a top-notch songwriter, Black has had songs recorded by artists such as Alison Krauss, Waylon Jennings, Dierks Bentley, Sam Bush and Blackhawk. Jeff Black returns on January 15, 2013 with B-Sides and Confessions, Volume 2, and just like a train with cargo to deliver, Black shows no signs of slowing down. The confessions begin with “All Right Now”, a musical monologue for a man who has gone through hell and come out the other side. The folksy-blues arrangement is subtle and not overdone, allowing Black’s rough-hewn voice to hold sway. It’s a compelling opening salvo. “Molly Rose” takes on the expected Celtic air in a tragic song of love and valor. It’s a reminder that sometimes when you win you lose, and sometimes when you lose; you win. Black’s deft handling of the vocal/story-telling is a master-class in the art of the singer-songwriter. “Avalon” is about a man willing to forsake all for a magical world. This quixotic quest plays out in spite of loved ones at home, and listeners can argue over whether the quest is noble or ill-gotten, the picture of a man obsessed to move heaven and earth to find a dream is crystal clear. Black next settles into the plaintive tones of “Impala”, a quiet contemplation featuring Black’s voice intermingled with piano and guitar. This ‘down’ moment has the air of quiet reflection, a moment not generally open to the air revealed here in song. “Alice Carry” is a quiet reflection on love; marriage, family and a life full of memories. Black brings the character of Alice alive here as a living, breathing person full of the spark of life. Memories flow like laughter and tears, and the characters and places Black describes are palpably real. “Days On End” has a listless feel ­ not the song but the character; a deep melancholy and fatalism descend over the song like a pall. Artistically and musically this song is striking, though one of the quieter moments on the album. “Miss Me” has a sort of trouble beauty to it. It’s a song of apology from a man who went away and is finally finding his way home.  Reasons are hard to come by, but understanding of his needs descends all the same. It’s a song full of human frailty and need from a man who is still trying to figure things out, but finally understands where he belongs. Black gets down to an old-time country/folk feel that’s reminiscent of Bob Dylan in “A Evil Lesson Is Soon Learned”. This entertaining number has a free-form feel that’s catchy, but Black doesn’t sacrifice an ounce of his story-teller’s pastiche in the process.  “Good Old Days” is a song of wisdom, reminding listeners that these are the days we will one day look back on. It’s a carpe diem message of sorts; a reminder to make the most of the moment so that when you look back to here one day it’s not with regret. Black’s gritty vocal is the perfect match to a minimalist arrangement that nevertheless explodes with quiet energy.“True Love Never Let Me Down” is a Springsteen-esque declaration of simple truths. Black explores the song’s backwaters with a tumbling arrangement that seems to accentuate the thought behind the lyrics, but the declarative nature of the song and its repetitive theme lend power to the message.“Remain” is another quiet reflection on simple truths. Love and the ties that band are the powerful magic in this song, and Black navigates them as a man who never truly understands but appreciates the magic nonetheless. B-Sides And Confessions, Vol. 2 closes with the contemplative strains of “Sunday Falling”, nicely wrapping the song cycle with memories of an idyllic Sunday afternoon. Black paints pictures with words here that are hard to ignore. Jeff Black brings gritty beauty and grace to a collection of memories, stories and observations on B-Sides And Confessions, Vol. 2. If we’re never entirely clear on where the lines between memory, reverie and hope stand then nothing has been lost. Black paints over the edges in seamless fashion, allowing the listener to suspend disbelief for an hour or so and simply be in the music. This is, perhaps, a musicians’ greatest gift to his/her fellow man; the ability to transcend, suspend and simply be. Black plies that gift, that talent, to perfection here.

B-Sides and Confessions, Volume 2 is nothing less than a Wildy’s World Certified Desert Island Disc. Rating: 5 Stars (Out of 5)

-Wildy Haskell



Audiophile

The first time I heard Jeff Black was on his first B-Sides and Confessions album, released in 2003. I instantly became a fan. Since then Black has regularly released a series of fine albums, including 2011's Plow Through the Mystic. On his second installment of B-Sides and Confessions Black enlists Jerry Douglas on Dobro, Sam Bush on mandolin, and Matraca Berg on background vocals. Recorded in Jeff Black's Arcana studio, Mixed by Dave Sinko, who's worked with The Punch Brothers and The Bee Eaters, and mastered by Eric Conn, this disc sounds wonderful. If you want to hear what one of the best songwriters in the US is up to, pick up a copy of B-Sides and Confessions Vol. Two. You won't be disappointed.
Rating (0- 10): Overall - 9, Sonically - 8

-Steven Stone



FAME Review acousticmusic.com

This is the sixth album for this riverbed gravelly voiced singer who has a gifted way with words. He has a tendency to fly just above the treetop level, however many of his followers are rabid for news about new songs or happenings (they follow him at The Taproom, a cutting-edge file exchange website http://tr.jeffblack.com/index.php/enter/). Just look at the home page and you get a feel for what his man has to offer, be aware it is not for the timid as few punches are pulled. He is joined on this collection of songs but such fellow musicians as Matraca Berg, Sam Bush, and Jerry Douglas among others and it is about as solid a collection of songs you are going to find. There is a down to earth feel here that extends a hand out and welcomes the listener in to the proceedings. There are 12 gems here for the listener to learn to delve into and begin to get acquainted with the craft with which he writes. He wrote all the songs, sings them, and he also produced the disc. For the record he also plays guitars, piano, keyboards, bass, harmonica, programming and percussion here. The songs are physically powerful, lucid, and exceedingly well crafted stories sung with his own sense of the song; the music of his songs tends to mirror their lyrical content. The songs are as personal or as universal in meaning as the listener allows them to be. This is someone who doesn't get the attention he deserves, nor do his songs get the recognition they should except from his fellow songwriters. One of those wonderful seemingly unassuming riches that kind of sneaks its way into your consciousness and won't leave. Treat yourself to this outstanding piece of work.

-A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange by Bob Gottlieb



All Right Now

I took a trip up to killer city
a little town where I was born
I saw what a life there might have give me
I turned around and high tailed home

it's all right now

I dropped down to see the doctor
he gave me some strange strange news
he said I think you're going to live forever boy
but you're going to die a little bit before you do

help me solve a little mystery
got it right here on the edge of my tongue
help me solve a little mystery
baby while we're young

ain't no future in the worries
cows out walking in the corn
every night I go to heaven
every morning I am reborn

 

Molly Rose

the first time I seen her
she was waltzing through town
her steps and her stride
put shame to the crown
her rhythms were soft
and perfect and low
and her long flowing hair
was as black as a crow

she worked at the punch house
down on carpenters square
you know they never make nothing
but trouble down there
I would have given my life
to see her dance through my door
I was just a boy
but she was much more
oh there she goes

her hand had been taken
by the hard times about
I've a grave understanding
of doing without
he was pale and mean
and a scab of a man
the dirge of my life
and a plague on the land

he whittled her down
and badgered her prize
he played on her faults
and he blackened her eyes
then for once in my life
I took purpose and creed
I couldn't stand by
and watch the bastard succeed
oh there she goes

the troubles were dark
on all that we'll agree
but they had nothing to do
with molly and me

although I was shaking
I stood very still
he should have never mistaken
my fear for goodwill
he laughed in my face when
I told him to pray
I gave him the chance then
he threw it away

I knew when he fell
I could never return
I hope the blade that I buried
in his belly still burns
I work hard for my time
in Phort Laois for my sin
oh to see her shy smile
hell I'd kill him again
oh there she goes

now when I close my eyes
I see her walking through town
her steps and her stride
put shame to the crown
her rhythms are soft
and perfect and low
and her long flowing hair
is as black as a crow
oh there she goes

 

Avalon

I will not count these days passing by
I for one ain't ever going to die
with my wily cane there is no concern
it is known around here I've a lot to learn
don't look back don't trace the sound
whatever you do don't look down to pray
don't discard me
you'll never write me out

I am on my way to Avalon

I will own this time with no regret
are we not more than twisted silhouettes
I will not make the same mistakes
that those who came before me made
piss and moan or wait and see
if some empty dream will carry me away
hey don't you love me
you better kiss me now

shadows passing over stone
is proof enough I'm pressing on
I may not take the bounty so I'm placing
little on what all I thought
and everything on what I want to see

 

Impala

night fell over the cornfield
and threw a ring around the moon
dark as hell he couldn't see the road
so he turned the wheel too soon
higher than a kite
he'd been drinking whiskey
out behind the school
good looking boy and
haywire crazy
a perfect April fool
we were all of fifteen
freshmen so green
he was about twenty one
he always said
we were punks and losers
and he always packed a gun
he said when he was just a baby
wrapped in a letter and an old brown coat
his mama left him with the church of christ
and that was all she wrote
he told us he drove a stock car
down in texas under a secret name
he might as well have been the lord of glory
because we all thought he was the king

 

Alice Carry

my name is Alice Carry
and I was born in Oklahoma
I lived in McAlester
when I was just a little girl
when I came to California
I was seventeen and pretty
I wanted to be in the movies
and shake out of this little world

Santa Monica Boulevard
rolls down to the ocean
I’d go down from Hollywood
to ride the ferris wheel
that’s where I met my Henry
it was like I’d known that man forever
he’d say hey hey Oklahoma
and he’d let me ride for free

there’s no dividing line between water and sky
here’s a picture of my Henry and I
down on the pier off of Lincoln Avenue
I loved Henry and he loved me too

I worked at the Cameo
In the district down on Broadway
selling ice cream and candy
and tickets to the matinee
on Saturdays and some Thursdays
oh Hank would come to see me
he’d say hey hey Oklahoma
and I’d let him in for free

see we were married in the winter
you know those summers in San Francisco
I was with child and happy then
to take the long way home
and somewhere between the mountains
and the bay we raised a family
I never looked back on my life
until I woke up here alone

some folks remember hard times
and have regrets about decisions
what could have been or should have been
and dreams that don’t come true
but I believe your days are set in stone
way before you’re born dear
some of us are lucky
and some of us just make do

 

Days On End

I carry this with me
crossing all lines
not moving at all inside

the night never comes
no nothing aligns
I'm crawling under the wire
this time

for days on end
this world is lost
to the reels and the sounds
and the pictures that I won't replace
and all that I planned
fell away with the paper and rain
turning over and into the visions
of what might have been
for days on end

you're holding the door
with the back of your hand
on the edge of the step there you're standing
you're taking the day
like a far away song
I keep playing it over and over

 

Miss Me

I felt like everything was changing
it was just the way we were moving
and since I don't really care
what people think of me no more
I jumped into the ruby cauldron
I felt the fires burning wild
now I'm waiting for the fool to take the cure
I was wondering about those numbers
on those fallen crosses
and then it came upon me
right there while you were sleeping sound

oh baby did you miss me
I never meant to leave you lonely
and were you wondering why we came this way
I don't know of any reasons
I just know who I'm pleasing now
I'm doing the best I can to make it home

here's a little riddle for you
what do you break when you name it out loud
it's cold as hell and stranger than it seems
down on the beat it was barren
I seen the light and I'm glad it came to me
it was on my way back home
from an Indiana town
I was feeling dizzy
the dream came to me like a pounding
I wondered where in the hell I'd been
and what does this mean to me now

oh baby did you miss me
I never meant to leave you lonely
I'm so sorry for all the pain I've caused
I don't know of any reasons
I just know the gasoline on it
just made it worse
when water was all
I needed truth be known
thank you for waiting so long

 

An Evil Lesson Is Soon Learned

I heard about the accident
did someone cast a spell
do you think the damage permanent
oh I suppose it's just as well
I heard you're staying with your mama
hey I cannot cast a stone
but when you're well and good
and up around again
you better lock your goddamned door

everybody here is guilty
everybody takes a turn
the information's privy old boy
an evil lesson is soon learned

as I listen to your story
I'm surprised that you're not dead
and how the two big fat girls found you
bleeding hard from the head
and how it knocked every one of your teeth out
well there goes the appetite
for careening through the country
on the cocaine late at night

is it true that when they found you
you had barely half a chance
you said don't wake up the sheriff baby
just call the ambulance
now with an angel on your shoulder
and whiskey on your breath
in the ranks of parlour soldiers
who say they've had their brush with death

 

Good Old Days

we pushed our way
through a crowded room
and the innocence was good
the smell of winter in our clothes
just babes out off the wood
fending off all those jesus lazers
in a white trash restaurant
silver dollars and golden rules
won't you give me what you want
say it

a nickel for every time
it come right down to you and me
someplace we know too well
that we hadn't ought to be
never a straight line
never a straight face
I'm going to say it one more time
these are the good old days

world on fire now
we won't let it spoil the play
let them see our benevolence child
for near stupidity
carry this good old karma around
like some idiot savant
I like to feel good too you know
so give me what you want

right down the middle now
so they say this life ain't fair
I got the charms to prove it
and the girl with the long brown hair
going to stay a wanted man
with a hat full of cherry plums
lord I'm taking it with me
taking it as it comes

 

True Love Never Let Me Down

I have been sorely disappointed
by temptation and every wild goose chase
it's all good for the gander
if you don't mind landing on your face
there is joy and restitution
from my darker days
from when the devil tried
to burn me to the ground

True love never
True love never let me down

I've put a lot of faith in people
who couldn't make a dime on my late show
they said we're sorry son
you think too much
we don't know what you mean
and the tempo's slow
thumpers on a mission yes
and lovers on the mend
and quite a few folks living in this town

a little wiser for the living
but no worse here for the wear
so I'll be heading for the border now
with nothing to declare

except for rays of light
rushing through my window
that push me out the door
the feeling that I get when I'm delivered
by all we're working for
little hands reaching for the likes of me
showing me another way around

 

Remain

hey I know a boy
who was born to this world
with a wondering eye and dreaming
a very old soul from way back before
Jesus and the turning of the wheel

I can't believe December's gone
hey mama look how much he's grown
the night becomes the day
snow turns into rain
winter turns to spring
so we must all
remain

there is a road into town
of dust and dirt brown
that I travel in my dreamtime
to a house full of people
that I know or so it seems
and these are memories that I cannot explain
the boy's been blessed with his mother's eyes
now I'm convinced that nothing dies

 

Sunday Falling

I can see her drifting down some river
the mill lays quiet for a change
the little ones are deep down
into the fields of play

from the big room I sit scheming
to let the clouds of august roll
over the hills into the distance
boy they're moving slow

it feels like sunday falling right into line
it's going to be good

there's no framework now no reason
no defining times I see
no delays in creation
there's no want
there's no need

if we can hold on a little bit longer
and let this whole world slip away
we can make this last forever
we can make this last forever





All songs written by Jeff Black
© 2013 Lotos Nile Music BMI
except An Evil Lesson Is Soon Learned
© Jeff Black Music/Coburn Music BMI
All Rights Reserved