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THOMM JUTZ —CRAZY IF YOU LET IT (Mountain Fever Records)

ALBUM OF THE MONTH 

 

www.thommjutz.com

 

Multi-talented Thomm Jutz has made great strides in the world of bluegrass, with both the songs he’s written and played on (some recorded in his Nashville studio) and, or produced; among those to have contact with him you can list Nanci Griffith, Otis Gibbs, Irene Kelley, Mac Wiseman, Marty Stuart, Balsam Range, Terry Baucom and the Dukes Of Drive, Junior Sisk & Rambler’s Choice, and a man of whom many of you might not know but should, Jefferson Ross. It was with Ross as he played an excellent supporting role (Live at The Hillbilly Haiku) I first heard a song they wrote together “Confederate Jasmine”, and it also figures here. Jutz places his own stamp on this beautifully written and most descriptive piece. Great work boys! 

  

Jutz isn’t just your ordinary guitarist. He is the kind of guy who slots in alongside others, and invariably makes whatever he is involved in sound better. Jutz like his good friends Peter Cooper and Eric Brace he is a real team player, accolades, awards etc just happen to follow him around. Bluegrass nominations this year were particularly big. 

 

Jutz is more than a bluegrass act he is also a mighty storyteller, and as this album testifies he’s written a bunch of them too. Most of his songs are co-writes with friends Milan Miller and Andrea Zonn plus one each with Tammy Rogers, Charley Stefl, Craig Market, Irene Kelley and Jon Weisberger. It is a smart lovingly produced package. I have yet to mention the wonderful supportive picking from Mark Fain (bass), Sierra Hull (mandolin), Justin Moses (banjo, Dobro, fiddle, harmony vocals), Andrea Zonn and Tammy Rogers (fiddle, harmony vocals) plus Cooper / Brace harmony vocals on the songs “Sometimes What Glitters Is Gold” and “Lily Of The Day”. The artwork on the CD it too is top class, and with notes from Jutz you could not ask for more. It is a co-write with Zonn that open the album “Crazy If You Let It”, and with Zonn's harmony vocals and fiddle aided by wonderful acoustic guitar and stylish Dobro the album's title-track opens the record beautifully. 

 

On listening to “Run With The Horses” (written the day after the death of Dr. Ralph Stanley) I hear as the song opens a hint or two of the structure of Townes Van Zandt. Which isn’t such a big surprise, since the song possesses some blues colourings, and with banjo, Dobro and guitar all vying for a slot a wonderful injection of energy. Containing great beauty and grace you have his co-effort with Rogers, “Old Railroads” (Rogers both plays and sings on the track, nice work she does too, then again it is Tammy Rogers we are talking about), and there is even a trip over the pond to Ireland for his song “The Road To Galway”. He learnt the tune from the legendary Co. Clare whistle player Micho Russell. He follows the song with the superb “Lily Of The Day”, wrapped in fiddle and banjo the Market co-write is as good as it gets or you would expect. While in the sad-eyed tune “Atlanta (Please Don’t Let Me Down)” he has yet another ace up his sleeve. On ‘Lily…” his vocals remind me of a 1980s cum early, mid 1990s Dan Seals. “Atlanta (Please Don’t Let Me Down)” contains an aching blues edge as he speaks of how Nashville wore him out during the two short years he lived there, and how there is no dough in Knoxville, and how Memphis was never his kind of town. Which leaves him praying Atlanta wont let him down. Decorated in top class guitar work (fiddle, banjo etc) it is an outstanding recording. It is one of those songs that doesn’t take long to become embedded in your senses, so descriptive are his older styled lyrics. Master-class comes to mind.    

 

Closing the 12-track album you have the fine “It Was You”, but that isn’t before he’s lay down a bunch of mighty songs (not yet listed) set to stay with the listener for a very long time. Like with many great songs there's a few here that grown on you in time. Not least among they you have “The Coast Of Carolina” as he speaks of a storm. Storms at the moment in writing are of topical nature (Hurricane Irma); bluegrass traditionalist I expect will drool over the banjo, bass, and hotly picked acoustic guitar fashioned “White Water Train”.  

 

                                                             Maurice Hope    

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May 2018

1
John Prine
67 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
JJC,MB,SP,RM
2
Levi Parham
58 pts.
It's All Good
Continental Records
CRS,JB,TK
3
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
55 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
HDB,CVL,DHO
4
Michael McDermott
54 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
JDO,LK,BK
5
Sam Morrow
48 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
MA,JBO,HB
6
Caleb Caudle
39 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
7
Western Centuries
36 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
MF
8
Carter Sampson
34 pts.
Lucky
Continental Song City
 
9
Charley Crockett
30 pts.
Lonesome as a Shadow
Son of Davy/30 Tigers
 
10
Courtney Marie Andrews
28 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
JV
11
Ed Romanoff
27 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
 
 
Joan Baez
27 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
HD
 
Pharis and Jason Romero
27 pts.
Sweet Old Religion
Lula Records
SZ,LM
14
Gretchen Peters
24 pts.
Dancing With The Beast
Proper Records
KG
 
Old Crow Medicine Show
24 pts.
Volunteer
Columbia Records
GF
 
Will Stewart
24 pts.
County Seat
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
17
Ben Reel
22 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
GC,FC
 
Birds Of Chicago
22 pts.
Love In Wartime
Signature Sounds
 
 
Emily Herring
22 pts.
Gliding
Eight 30 Records
RST,RH
20
Jenny van West
21 pts.
Happiness To Burn
Independent
PJ,FS,JJ
 
Mary Gauthier
21 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
22
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
20 pts.
Years
Bloodshot Records
FCE
23
David Starr
19 pts.
South And East
Independent
HM
24
Cold Tone Harvest
18 pts.
After You
Independent
 
25
Grant Peeples
17 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental

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