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Jay Ducker Jay Ducker
Album: Country Sober
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 8

I first came across Jay Ducker when he was a constituent part of Norfolk combo, Cove Hithe, who impressed enough to be given a Fatea Showcase Sessions slot, well as tends to happen with bands other ideas came a calling and Joe decided to plough a solo furrow.

That started with the album "Country Sober", which in all honesty came out a few months back, but with its imminent launch on vinyl it gives us, and I guess Jay, a second bite at the review cherry.

The title gives a clue that this is not a complete departure from the dark tinged folk and country of his previous band, but where it does take variation is in the instrumentation and arrangements as it brings in a more atmospheric and intense sound that relies much more on electronica than his previous cut. I also think that it's less easy to access, not necessarily a bad thing, there is a lot to be said for delayed gratification.

In all honesty I had put this to one side and whilst I liked "Country Sober", it didn't move me. It was only on returning to it that it really started floating my boat in a more serious way. It's an album of intricacy right through the arrangements. It's like it's trying to build a relationship with you by gradually releasing its secrets rather than as a big bang.

Jay's voice is well suited to songs with narrative, he holds the poetry of the words well and then seems to build the rest of the song around them, an approach that really allows the album to unfurl and deliver time and time again.

"Country Sober" is not an album you will reach the end of and then press play on straightaway, but it is an album you will play again and again. Definitely good value, right across it's range.

Neil King