Jed Davis

The Cutting Room Floor

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Few other albums in recent memory have had as long and tortured an evolutionary process as The Cutting Room Floor. The man behind it -- New York singer/songwriter Jed Davis -- is an eclectic, multi-talented artist who has been everything from a keyboardist for Jessica Simpson to a member of garage rock band the Hanslick Rebellion, but at heart he's a singer/songwriter. Before The Cutting Room Floor, he had already released a couple of solo albums in the ‘90s, and even inspired a tribute record that featured the likes of Daniel Johnston and King Missile covering his songs. Davis began putting together The Cutting Room Floor back in 1999, but over the years, he was beset by a daunting series of travails; work on the album was interrupted at various points by everything from a host of physical ailments to day-job layoffs and music-biz complications. Through it all, Davis forged ahead with a Job-like persistence, but his fortitude was finally rewarded when some high-profile friends popped up to help bring the project home. David Fridmann of Mercury Rev/Flaming Lips fame, stepped in as executive producer and offered up some studio time, and former Ramone Tommy Erdelyi stepped into a producer role for the first time in many years. The resulting album is nearly as diverse-sounding and difficult to pin down as it was challenging to create. "I Have a Rose," "Let Go," and the title track find Davis dipping into melodic, atmospheric psych pop that evokes the Fridmann connection. "Before I Was Born" is hard-driving power pop, peppered by crunchy, punk-tinged guitars and infectious hooks. Piano-driven cuts like "Native Son" and "Enough" combine elegantly arcing melodies with sharp lyrics, suggesting an underground cousin of Ben Folds. Left-field indie pop tunes "Denny's 3 A.M." and "Queens Is Where You Go When You're Dead" are quirky cuts that show off both Davis' compositional savvy and his sense of humor. Only Davis can really say whether The Cutting Room was worth what he had to go through to make it, but his admirers will surely be thankful that he followed through.

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