A starving artist with a belly full… Sounds like a paradox, until you plunge into these ballads, telling the story of a man so fed up with the bullshit that life throws at us at every turn. “You gotta laugh to keep from crying,” says singer/songwriter Jesse Charles Hammock II, whose new album—his first solo effort—builds on the vivid insights he’s delivered throughout his career with various bands and projects.
These eleven tracks take listeners on a bare-knuckled ride through the dark underbelly that lurks around his Bible Belt stomping grounds—and beyond. Raw pain boils up from a year of divorce. Love conquers fear when he takes full custody of a 4-year-old daughter. A game of chicken with a suicidal stallion turns deadly for his V8 big truck. These songs are a road trip through your soul, ranging from raw rockin’ Americana blues to Appalatchy slop bucket country, as Jesse answers the question “why” without slapping the truth across your face.
The Fall isn’t an album about a season, or a departure from grace. Instead, Jesse Hammock finds his step, and its grace is tenfold thicker than ever, since he picked up a guitar a decade ago. Telling the stories in this album, Jesse’s blade is sharper, and his tongue is still firmly planted in his cheek—as in previous Powder Mill fixtures.
But this time around, his songs carry a heavier weight, spawned from a dose of heartache, the reality of making a hard dollar, always remembering that the hard life may be in the past, but never gone or forgotten, as he travels a path nobody could have predicted. “With no obvious solution to the bumps in the road, it’s amazing what a person can do if they have to do it,” Jesse says. He admits to starting stubborn. “Thick as the head of a Missouri mule,” he laughs. “The way the chips fell, it made me a better person, a better daddy, and truth be known, it saved my life.”