JERRY LEGER – ‘NONSENSE AND HEARTACHE’
If Gram Parsons ever sat drinking with Tom Petty at a roadside bar outside 29 Palms, Jerry Leger’s Nonsense and Heartache would be playing on the jukebox.
Before the record executives sliced and diced music into easily packaged genres, musicians would fearlessly explore the country, folk, gospel and blues music that gave birth to rock ‘n’ roll. Much like Sturgill Simpson, Leger ignores present realities and veers in a multitude in directions for the sake of his songs. This double album of eighteen songs feels far too short. When is the last time you thought that about an album?
Split into a double album, the first slab of wax (this album is a must on vinyl) represents ‘Nonsense’ as Leger and the band turn up the amps and throw down enough neo-traditional rock to get Jack White’s trousers in a bunch.
Opener “Coat on the Rack” sets the tone with a Dylanesque delivery marching over a blues stomp where two guitars stare each other down on the verge of trouble. On the ballad “Wedding Dress”, a steel guitar captures the regret of the lyrics while an electric guitar provides the occasional burst of anger to highlight the mixed emotions attached to the past.
As the album unfolds, the music shifts into ‘Heartache’ with more acoustic guitars and pianos. “Take the Ashes and Run” sounds like a lost Springsteen track from Nebraska which speaks to the quality of Leger’s writing and the unobtrusive production.
Any man worth his salt knows the second side of Sticky Fingers is where the Rolling Stones did their best work and Leger is one such man. Adding hints of country in all the right places, the music ebbs and flows like life itself. The throwback touchpoints are littered across this album but Leger isn’t digging through old vinyl crates to be hip. This album speaks to a lifetime of experience pondering the depths of Townes Van Zandt lyrics and listening to lost Dylan tapes. Whether racing down a desert highway on a shimmering afternoon or drinking whiskey under an old Budweiser neon, Nonsense and Heartache will be your perfect companion.