Updated: Nov 9, 2021
Off the back of our Q&A with him, Jordan Merrick has finally unveiled his latest album, Waiting Blues. Hellhounds on his tail, he wasted no time in delivering us this 8-track epic tale of alienation, loneliness & isolation. The album encompasses elements of blues, folk, rock & country, with each track delving deeper into a blue and black midnight hellscape. Let's get our box of chicken feet and sprinkle some bourbon at the crossroads, we're going on a ride with Baron Samedi on this one. Of the album, Jordan stated:
“‘Waiting Blues’ is asking the question of listeners – do you want to wait for change, pray to God and reminisce on times gone, or do you want to fight for the life you want and make your own change?”
The album sounds like Robert Johnson shaking hands with Tom Waits' live performance of 'Heart Attack and Vine' - smoky, guttural vocals and lovelorn poignancy. It's the cigarette you put on your friend's coffin, "This one's for you, Little Timmy."
The first track is 'This Rainy Day,' which starts off with a vocal chorus and some slow guitar tinkles. We then get a hobbling drum shuffle and some droning guitar slides. Enough loneliness & cigarettes to fill a dram of Scotch, the song then gets some emotive big blasts from the bottom of his lungs and we remember how to feel.
We then go into the titular single, 'The Waiting Blues:'
"The Waiting Blues was written one cold winters night on the back porch, looking out at the streetlights across the road." - Jordan Merrick
This song ruminates in a sparse room, remembering someone long lost. This blues ballad whisks us from the crossroads, straight into a stumble home from the pub with too much whisky and regret. We get left on an uncertain note, longing & left wondering.
Track number three is 'Lonelier Than You,' my favourite single preceding the album. This one is an old-timey throwback to husky-voiced blues musicians past. Timely in it's lyrical themes, the song tackles the current state of the world & the feelings of isolation which come with it. We delve through conspiracy & conscience and the desire to leave. All the while with the classic stab of the guitar strings ushering us into a long vocal note and pushing into the next song. Number 4 is 'God's Song,' an inquisitive piece highlighting the acoustic guitar. This song is emotive & raw, filled with questions & beautiful lyricism. Again tackling the modern issues we face, as well as religion & the rich. This song has grown on me a lot since my first listening, and becomes increasingly touching with each sitting. You can hear the room it was recorded in, sitting there right next to the solitary man and his guitar.
'Toowong' follows up, an ode to Brisbane. This one takes on fear-mongering & propaganda. Jordan stated:
"Outside of a few – the songs were written during the lockdown throughout different times in the year. There was Toowong – written while listening to a neighbour mow his lawn and pondering what the fuck was happening in the world."
This track is probably my favourite of the bunch. It is atmospheric & foreboding. It sounds like something The Dead Weather would conjure up, but more harsh & terrifying. The song features a skeleton of train-track percussion, the teeth of a piano and a ghostly choral choir. There are bleached-bone desert guitar coyote calls and the scariest lullaby of all time.
Nombre six comes clunking in with some strings and a Tom Waits hum. 'Midnight Hymn Blues' is his name, and he follows the beat of a drum and the walk of a bass. The call and response between our protagonist & The Other leads us further into the track as it progresses and grows towards a calamitous crescendo. The guitars slowly become more and more electrified and the voice increasingly commanding.
'The Mob Song' follows up:
"The Mob Song was a fictional escape after one too many spaghetti westerns (if there is such a thing!)." - Jordan Merrick.
This song reads like a Western too, with an outlaw on the run and a hail of bullets. Always lurching forward, we can hear the howls of black dogs on the horizon and the turn of the metal-cylinder of the saloon pianola, ghost-hands clinking its keys.
Finally, we get some raw voice and acoustic mayhem on 'Those Are The Days.' Retrospective & mournful for time lost, this song takes a sweeping look at The Before Times with pinpoint folk brushstrokes. We end our journey at a lonely & forlorn place, a crossroads in the middle of nowhere.
Be sure to catch Jordan at The Bearded Lady in West End, tonight on November the 5th for his album launch! This album is raw and powerful, at times thick with The Blues and others just a lone guitarist with too much weight on his shoulders. Start to finish, we are swept up into a sombre night with ghoulish memories and ghostly regrets come to haunt us. There is always a hand on our shoulder, and you whiplash round to see who it belongs to, only to find nothing but yourself and the hairs on your neck standing up.
Jordan Merrick 'Waiting List Blues' Album Launch
Friday, 5th November - The Bearded Lady (West End, Brisbane)