Album Reviews

Jesse Winchester- A Reasonable Amount of Trouble (Appleseed)

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Jesse Winchester, A Reasonable Amount of TroubleThis is the last album Jesse Winchester recorded before he passed away from cancer in April 2014, and it is arguably his best; he is in fine, fine voice here. Jesse wrote nine of the 12 songs here, and there are three gorgeous covers that fit seamlessly right in with the mood and feel with his material (“Rhythm of the Rain,” “Devil or Angel,” and “Whispering Bells.”) There is a beautiful peacefulness that pervades the whole album, and for someone who knows his time on this green earth wasn’t to last too long, it is amazing how serene the album is without ever falling into horrid sentimentality.

The songs here are typical of Jesse and contain a bit of soft-pedaling of the problems he is singing about. He downplays the subject on purpose, and yet you know what the problem is: listen to “All That We Have Is Now” and “Just So Much.” Even the album’s title is an indicator; is there ever just A Reasonable Amount of Trouble?  What is a reasonable amount of trouble?  His songs make it seem easy and yet not matter there is a struggle.

His band here is sensitive to the music and always leaves him room, particularly for his vocals. The players are all solid: producer Mac McNally and handles guitars, keys, mandola, and backing vocals; Joel Guzman plays accordion, Jerry Douglas plays lap steel guitar on two cuts, and Jim Horn on a few others. They are not there for their names but their playing.  The result is beautiful album that leaves you with a smile on your face.

– Bob Gottlieb

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