Show Preview & Album Review: N.P. Presley and The Ghost of Jesse Garon
Lexington, Kentucky is a hidden gem in the independent music landscape of the southern-Midwest. Once you've had your fill of UK Wildcat basketball, beautiful horses grazing in bluegrass pastures, and some of the tastiest bourbon in the state, you'll find a welcoming music scene rich in camaraderie, talent, spirit and diversity. It's hip without being hipster, it's small without being townie, and it's steeped in the kind of culture that smaller cities can't support and larger cities lose in the masses. Venues like The Green Lantern, Al's Bar, and the newest, beautiful addition - The Burl - support bands like Those Crosstown Rivals, Josh Nolan, Bryan Minks & The Kentucky Sons, Paper Bridges, and the great Justin Wells, among many others.
Not lost in the shuffle is N.P. Presley & The Ghost Of Jesse Garon. N.P. and his 7-piece band will make the three hour drive north to Columbus this Tuesday to open for The Goddamn Gallows (Yeah Detroit!) and Gallows Bound at The Shrunken Head.
N.P. (or Nate as I call him when he buys me drinks) is no stranger to rock and roll. His mom was cousin to none other than the King himself, Elvis, and toured with him in the 70s. Nate gets his snarl from Elvis, and some of his swagger too. Starting in the early '90s Nate led one of Lexington's greatest exports, the punk band Infected, through 20+ years of off-again-on-again touring and recording before forming The Ghost of Jesse Garon in 2014.
In 2016 the band released their first full-length Broken Fantasy and it's chock-full of Kentucky Rock and Roll, edgy alt-country, and rockabilly punk. N.P.'s growl leads the way through 10 tracks, with a backbeat that's just ahead of the guitars and baritone sax, and sweet, sweet harmonies by Heather Parrish adding a nice varnish to the beautifully rough under-surface. I think the band shines brightest on "Only Time Will Tell," a fully-realized pop-rock-soul number that channels The Hold Steady with the main riff but lays a gritty vocal hook and call & answer harmony on top of that. "Won't Slow Down" is another strong one: a pop-punk almost-anthem with a growling, breathy vocal on top of driving, chunky guitars. The opening track "Dream While You Still Can" is a dark, acoustic, Americana number that recalls the underappreciated Massachusetts band Angry Johnny And The Killbillies. "Road to Insanity" and "It's a Fact" are rockabilly tracks that evoke Elvis' swingin' hips days. The whole package is a bit of a goulash of a couple styles - but it's a cohesive set, not disjointed or unfocused. It's incredibly engaging with no filler and no lulls to open your attention to distractions. Fans of Social Distortion, X, The Replacements, Hank III, the Fat Wreck Chords bands, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Naked Raygun and more will all dig this release.
N.P. Presley and The Ghost Of Jesse Garon are playing Columbus on Tuesday, November 15th opening for Goddamn Gallows and Gallows Bound at The Shrunken Head, 251 W 5th Avenue. Doors are at 8pm. Get tickets here: https://nppresley.bandcamp.com/
N.P. Presley and The Ghost Of Jesse Garon:
Thank you. Thank you very much.