“Stone Cold” from Old Man Jack

A groove the size of a mountain wastes no time in blanketing us with rhythm and tonality of the best kind as we listen in on “Stone Cold” from Old Man Jack. Strikingly bouncy and startlingly seductive in its many twists and turns, this all-new release from the indie experimental syndicate breaks off thick bands of melodic ribbonry without a second thought.

BANDCAMP: https://omjhardrock.bandcamp.com/track/stone-cold

There is no sonic filler and fluff for us to sift through to appreciate the layers within the harmonies here –, for as complex an arrangement as was given to this track, it’s a cut-and-dry piece of material. The chemistry is the charts-good, and though there are a lot of different components for us to focus on, nothing in “Stone Cold” feels particularly overwhelming or overproduced. This isn’t the easiest song in the world to classify using traditional subgenres and style terms, but it’s nevertheless one of the most addictive studio cuts this act has ever stuck its name on. I haven’t put it down yet, and once you’ve given it a spin, I think you’ll understand why.

The drums aren’t as big in the mix as one might assume they’d be, given the bluesy design of the beats. This doesn’t affect the impact of the grooves here – because of the beefiness of the bass parts here, there’s scarcely a moment where it feels like there’s any room for more percussive indulgence.

The ebbing of the melody around the minute-and-a-half mark in the track is tension-inducing beyond question, but it builds the energy for the climax like no other compositional device could have. My gut tells me that “Stone Cold” was probably created amid an extended jam session as opposed to within the mind of the frontman here, but in either case, I’d love to see what they could do with it in a live environment.

They could easily squeeze another ten minutes out of this song without making it feel bloated or overexploited, which is saying a lot given the uptick in minimized concepts among blues fans over the past decade.

There are more than a few interesting blues acts making waves in the underground right now, but on this end of the country, I can’t say that I’ve heard any quite as unique as Old Man Jack. Daring to be different in an age that is rewarding sonic assimilation far more than it should be, Old Man Jack isn’t backing down from the challenge of being one of a kind in “Stone Cold,” and they deserve a lot of adulation for their efforts. A new hit in this genre is long overdue, and going off of what they’ve released here, I think we’re going to get a proper album as this coming summer gets into focus. I’ll be staying tuned to their output very closely, and I highly recommend that other fans of the indie blues movement think about doing the same as the year presses on.

Michael Rand  

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