Jackson Del Ray


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The last release from the Jackson Del Ray Band is a mysterious, intoxicating stew of folk-rock, chiming 12-string guitar, and poetic, vaguely religious lyrics. The arrangements here draw from Celtic, medieval, and Eastern music, and are simpler than anything Philip Drucker had done since the Savage Republic days. Most of the album is acoustic, with one or two voices floating gently over the mix, but that actually gives this material more power than a full electric sound could have done. Occasionally, the music verges on traditional folk, as in the atmospheric reworking of the old ballad "Jack Tar Ashore." That track is a light moment; elsewhere the mood is confessional, mysterious, and oblique. The title cut is cryptic, and in light of the subsequent disappearance of its author, tantalizing. Over a haunting guitar melody, Drucker chants a mournful song with the repeating lyric, "I believe in miracles, I believe in eternity." The imagery of angels, death, and redemption appear throughout the album, suggesting that Drucker was doing a lot of serious thinking about the afterlife. The decade of silence afterward gives no hint of his conclusions, or how he acted on them.