Words by Adrienne Morgan
The pandemic and subsequent lock downs have produced an absolute plethora of musical expressions of loneliness and frustration and Jordan Merrick’s latest offering – ‘Waiting Blues’ – is no exception. Jordan takes us through a gamut of emotions we can all relate to, especially since society changed so dramatically and rapidly.
Singer-songwriter Jordan has cemented his position locally as Brisbane’s own Bob Dylan and is really working on the discography to match, backed by previous formidable EP and single releases and a well received album in 2019, ‘Night Music’. Now, the hat-wearing folk-roots storyteller has presented us with his sophomore album, ‘Waiting Blues’.
Many influences – from Nick Cave in the title track; to indigenous overtones in Toowong; to traditional blues, reminiscent of St James Infirmary, in Midnight Hymn Blues – all become evident as the album progresses. Jordan covers a diverse selection of styles that holds your interest to the end. Songs of despair, pain, anger, love and pleas to a higher power, all combine to produce a strong, emotional commentary on our lives today.
The opening track, This Rainy Day, does not necessarily reflect what’s to come. A simple melodic song, with nice slide guitar touches, in 3/4 time, evocative of a Paul Kelly track, has great lyrical imagery that builds to a sudden finish.
Each track sends you in completely different direction, like The Waiting Blues – a song of lost love, with dark lyrics and a slightly ominous sound that combine to make a haunting piece. Then the slightly whimsical Lonelier Than You comes along and transports you back to the 50’s, with a twanging guitar and solid background vocals.
Toowong is raw, atmospheric and almost tribal. The background vocals combine with the basic, repetitive rhythm to give a distinctly Australian sound. Jordan’s bitter lyrics flow through to the end that somehow ends up sounding like a lullaby as it fades out.
The loose bass, drums and keyboards lope along in the traditional sounding blues – Midnight Hymn Blues. A rough, distorted and angry kind of gospel, again bringing in the very spiritual content that runs through the whole album. The comparatively upbeat The Mob Song provides a nice contrast to the sometimes sombre mood of the album
The standout for me is God’s Song. The intimate production pulls you into this touching and poignant plea to God, asking if the mess that humanity has become was meant to happen. Needing a sign – any sign – to keep going. Biting, topical content with a sweet sound that stays with you. A bitter kind of sweet.
‘Waiting Blues’ will undoubtedly touch many people in many ways. Merrick takes bold steps to question the value of life, love, and religion in ways that have not been done before. Cynical? Perhaps. Despairing? Certainly. But saying what needs to be said, questioning what needs to be questioned, and always remaining authentic.
Jordan Merrick’s ‘Waiting Blues’ – an compelling selection of songs designed to challenge, intrigue, and find yourself engaged with – is out now: LISTEN HERE.
FOLLOW JORDAN MERRICK
Thanks to Kick Push PR