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Upon the release of his third solo album, the delightful Out Of Sight, US folklorist Jake Xerxes Fussell walks Chris Parkin through the folk and country blues records that are important to him

One of traditional folk music’s less pleasing traits has been the tendency for its protagonists to engage in bouts of territorial pissing. But Jake Xerxes Fussell is having none of it. After watching bluegrass enthusiasts and old-time string bands stare daggers at each other at fiddlers’ conventions across the Southern states, the isn’t much interested in any inhibiting and arbitrary divides.

Fussell grew up in Columbus, Georgia, the child of folklorists, and is steeped in the Southern folk vernacular. And yet his easy-going albums, all back-porch guitar and homespun vocals, offer more than that, weaving in pre-war jazz, early country and obscure, centuries-old ballads. On 2017s name-making album, What In The Natural World, the found room for Duke Ellington’s Jump For Joy alongside Have You Ever Seen Peaches Growing On A Sweet Potato Vine? by Worth County folk-blues man Jimmy Lee Williams. His latest (third) album continues in the same vein.

Out Of Sight - Fussell’s first album with a full band - is a collection of intimate but pepped-up and eerily topical songs about working, loving and drinking, made more prescient still by its contemporary-sounding flourishes and river-clear electric guitar. With his song choices, Fussell paints a fuller and richer picture of folksong than most self-declared traditionalists ever manage.

“I’m not an obscurantist”, the tells us, “but part of what I’m doing is turning the audience on to something they might not have heard. I’ll draw out some aspect of a song that might be interesting to me that’s not just impersonating whatever recording I heard. Sometimes I’m more faithful, but sometimes it doesn’t need any embellishment or trickery. It just needs to be what it is.”

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About Long Live Vinyl

Issue 29 of Long Live Vinyl is now on sale! Unknown Treasures! This issue's bumper cover story is a definitive list of 150 albums you need to discover. We've recruited 30 of the most well-known, passionate record collectors in the country to bring you their list of the hidden gems missing from your collection. From record shop owners to label bosses, bands and festival organisers, your collection needs their recommendations. Elsewhere, we speak to Ride about the second album of their incredible comeback, This Is Not A Safe Place, find out why Hot Chip's A Bath Full Of Ecstasy is already one of the most positive records of 2019 and meet a true modern folk hero, Jake Xerxes Fussell. If that's not enough to whet your appetite, we speak to some of the key figures behind Prince's new Originals collection, salute a pair of female punk pioneers, celebrate the 30th anniversary of New Order's Technique and tell the story of Fierce Panda, the indie label that discovered Coldplay. With the most comprehensive range of new album, reissue, turntable and hi-fi reviews anywhere on the newsstand, Long Live Vinyl is THE magazine for vinyl lovers.

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