There is a wonderful duality to Jol Rose, the man and the music. Live, he likes to play the entertainer, offering the gathered crowd a fun time, breaking out the upbeat songs and being the focal point of a memorable lively night out, bringing the party vibes in no small amount. There’s nothing wrong with that, in fact, it is the perfect description of what you expect from a live performance. But when he has an album as gloriously dark, understated and brilliantly conceived as My Nebraska in his back pocket, I wonder if he isn’t missing a trick.
It’s a feeling that is only made stronger with the release of Yesterday’s Waltz. Here, he moves away slightly from the Springsteen-infused sonic vibes and steps more into Tom Wait’s territory. A brave and brilliant move in my opinion. It’s a song that conjures images of the solo troubadour pouring their heart out to a near-empty room, it is the sound of love, loss and longing, of broken hearts and shattered dreams, the sound of raw honesty and regret being fashioned into song.
And for all that, it is wonderfully accessible and rewards the listener with each repeated play, it is gorgeously battered and beautifully bruised, spacious and special and for all its intimate sentiment is, sadly perhaps, all too relatable.
Everyone wants to be entertained on a night out, everyone likes to go home with a smile on their face but to have songs this powerful and poignant and not allow them a live outing would be the real tragedy here.