It could almost be inferred that Jesse Marchant wrote the songs for his new album (out September 9) over a period of months in New York City during which a lot of his world had come out from under him, in what he has described as “a general period of falling outs, absence and abuse, both of self and of what should or could have been surrounding”. But in the process of finding an end to that, Marchant feels to have grown.
One is not left to wonder why he chose to drop the moniker of his former releases (his initials JBM) for the use of his proper full name, nor why his voice and lyrics, recorded with a mouth-to-ear intimacy, emphasizing his deepening and wearying baritone, sit loud and naked atop the widescreen backdrop of the deep synthesizer and orchestral pads and arrangements, often reminiscent of “I’m on Fire”-era Springsteen. There is a sense of wanting to take responsibility and a desire to have things seen and said clearly for what they are, directly.
The production of the record reflects that same growth, balancing a new, vivid sound with matured control and rootedness. The songs that make up this eponymous album are menacing, dreamy worlds of their own, each one unique for each listener, instantly relatable and surprisingly therapeutic: Marchant’s revelations are infectious.
Marchant will be on the road, debuting the songs live during a series of dates with Bishop Allen, and Ghettoblaster caught up with him to discuss touring. This is what he told us.
What kind of vehicle are you travelling in, and what are you doing to outfit it for maximum comfort?
My old Audi station wagon. It’s got a really good sound system and A/C that works well for when it’s too hot to ride with the windows open. It’s generally quite nice so I don’t need to outfit it with much.
What is the planned playlist for your travels?
I’ll be listening to the new Blake Mills album a lot. Some podcasts, maybe a book on tape. Emmylou Harris’ Pieces Of the Sky has been getting a lot of play lately. Don’t know what else, it’s kind of a for the moment decision thing.
Which of the cities that you’ll be visiting are you most excited about and why?
I always love going to New Orleans. It’s nostalgic and I once fell in love there so it’s rich with those memories. Louisville, since I plain like it there, and LA.
Which of your destinations are you most anxious about?
None really. I suppose going into Canada is always a bit of a pain in the ass because you’ve got to deal with the customs guys and taking your merch across, etc. and I hate dealing with authority figures. I like going there though, and I’m from there, so it’s really just that.
What are the top three essential, must-have items that you take on the road with you?
Running shoes, a cork screw and a bathing suit.
What will you miss most about home while you are away?
Friends, biking around and french press coffee at home in the morning.
Do you keep a diary during your travels? If so, is it public? Can we share it?
I don’t, and of course I wouldn’t share it.
I do keep notes of places that I like in different cities though, so I can remember to go back to them.
What is the crazy thing you’ve seen on the road during this or other tours?
On the freeway near Indianapolis a few years ago a car a couple ahead of me lost control at about 60mph and flipped and rolled on and off the road until it came to a stop. I was swooped into a tunnel before I could pull over to help and I never was able to get back or find out what came of the accident. It was awful.
(Catch him live here:
8/24 Chapel Hill, NC @ Local506 (TICKETS) w/Bishop Allen
8/25 Atlanta, GA @ The Earl (TICKETS) w/Bishop Allen
8/26 Jacksonville, FL @ Burro Bar (TICKETS) w/Bishop Allen
8/28 New Orleans, LA @ The Beatnik (TICKETS) w/Bishop Allen
8/29 Baton Rouge, LA @Chelsea’s Cafe (TICKETS) w/Bishop Allen
8/30 Austin, TX @ Holy Mountain (TICKETS) w/Bishop Allen
8/31 Dallas, TX @ Three Links (TICKETS) w/Bishop Allen
9/1 Norman, OK @ Opolis (TICKETS) w/Bishop Allen
9/2 Kansas City, MO @ Czar Bar (TICKETS) w/Bishop Allen
9/3 St. Louis, MO @ Firebird (TICKETS) w/Bishop Allen
9/4 Chicago, IL @ Schubas (TICKETS) w/Bishop Allen
9/6 Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar (TICKETS) w/Bishop Allen
9/7 Columbus, OH @ Tree Bar (TICKETS) w/Bishop Allen
9/8 Akron, OH @ Musica (TICKETS) w/Bishop Allen)