There may not be that much snow on the ground in Montreal today, but the city looked more Christmasey earlier this month. That’s when local country folk rock and roller Jesse Stone and some musician friends braved the cold on Mount Royal’s lookout to bring some holiday cheer to the people who were there and now, via video, the rest of us.
This pop-up show consisted of one song with one message: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. So what better time for us to share that message with you.
With his new album Break of Day set to be released this month, expatriate Jesse Stone has been very busy working on new musical projects from his Brooklyn apartment.
Best known for his sweet raspy voice, a mix of blues rock singer and alt-country star, his music was forged here, in the fires of Montreal. And although he has left to work in Brooklyn his heart hasn’t really left Montreal, his home.
In an age of polished, soulless music, Jesse Stone’s songs are a reminder of the age of the great poetic singer-songwriters of days past: Cohen, Dylan and Springsteen. Just like them, Stone sings about the age old battle of modernism, relationships and the desire to find your place and soul in all this madness.
Hosting the open mic jam at The Bull pub made Jesse Stone a name for himself among the performers that showed up every week.
A few years ago Jesse Stone also got recognition of also being a great promoter, hosting and performing on the Bandstand fundraiser with his company Hot Soupe. Together with Josh Trager (drummer), Chad Tuppert (electric guitar) he started recording songs that would be on the new album.
Now, after a year and a half of a tenacious effort Break of Day is finally scheduled for release later this month.
Many of the songs on Break of Day are as uptempo and upbeat as a summer’s day like “Promises” and “Fisherman.” But there are a few darker tracks on the album like “Vampires,” “Don’t Come Around” and “Life is a Lonely Road,” which give the album a full spectrum of emotions as they travel through the heart of the poet, singer-songwriter. Brilliantly arranged, many of the rock songs that will make you want to dance, and maybe twist and shout, while a few of the darker tracks may make you drink, reflexively.
If you are already familiar with his music then you’ve probably heard of how he gets inside your head and tinkers, leaving behind some catchy tunes and memorable riffs. Here’s the track “Don’t Change” that will stay in your head:
The album was finished a year ago and although the sound is produced and polished yet still holds a looseness of a live musical performance. Break of Day is also very well paced giving the listener time to reflect, and enjoy the mood it generates, without coming on strong.
It’s an homage to the singer-songwriters of days past; if anything Stone has shown us these day aren’t over.