Jim Neversink - Jim Neversink
You've seen this movie. It's the one where a seemingly normal East Coast guy is on his way to the West Coast and stops for gas in a small desert town... welcome to Joburg, Nevada.
Download Jim Neversink's singles "Palomino Gold Dust Saloon", "Pictures" and "Mail Order Russian Bride" for free on MP3
Neversink and Matthew Fink have produced a benchmark album, seemingly out of nowhere. Fittingly so, because evidence suggests that Jim Neversink is a MAJOR talent.
On this eponymous effort, expertly performed slide and acoustic guitars (including lap steel), harmonicas and soft drums help evoke all the imagery that others like Calexico and Wilco have made their own. This is the Country of an evolving lifestyle; of a wry outlook that simultaneously remonstrates against both tradition and new-fad-ism.
"I can't believe people take pills for tone", Neversink sings dryly on "Western World", typical of the phrase-driven heart of true country cynics. Meanwhile, the beautifully elevating "Palomino Gold Dust Saloon" catches your attention, complete with seemingly discordant instrumental bridge. "Mail-Order Russian Bride"'s chorus soars with a taunting: "What is your name? / what do you do?/ do you ever sing along with Elvis, too?". The swaying melody of "Two Star Ride" will cast you into a daydream, even if you are doing the accounts at the time.
There are several more highlights, and if most of the song titles feel obviously country, don't be misled. This isn't the Country most South Africans came to know on "Sing Country" or "Gentle on my Mind". If that's your impression if modern Americana, may want to take a chance of bridging the gap with a Jayhawks album. Or, at a stretch, dig out your old Chris Isaak vinyl.
And if you make it that far, you'll find that Neversink's effected vocals present a permanent twilight scene in a small truck-stop town. There's a big sky above, and a lost highway below. A lone neon sign may just be switching on at the diner by the highway... and the only people around here are the ones that pass through... Americana has seldom sounded so good. Even when executed by Americans.
In short, a South African masterpiece.
1. Jim Neversink (aka Mike Whitehead) is from Durban, now resident in Joburg, and has something in common with popular MWEB MP3 download boys Three Bored White Guys ( get two songs here ); they were chosen to support Rodriquez on respective legs of his SA tour dates in 2005.
2. Mike Whitehead was the guitarist and songwriter for popular Durban outfit Famous Curtain Trick.
3. Jim (from James) is his real second name. Neversink is the Native American name for a shallow river in the Catskills. Jim Neversink is also really the name of his band.
- Anton Marshall