About Jack Mesenbourg

Jack Mesenbourg is a writer, musician, photographer, and artist from Minneapolis. He has spent his years hopping around the country, scribbling notes & scratching pictures in poorly organized journals along the way. Traveling with him have been his passions and distractions such as music, gardening, baseball, cooking and finding good local beer. Hopefully his projects provide you with some insight, provoke some thinking or at least give you a little amusement.

Song Review – Nick Cross “Azalea City” from the album The Multiverse Waltz

I had picked up this song while looking through releases by Just Because Records out of Cleveland.  I was in a super-chill mood at the time and this track fit right into that groove.  Since then I have listened to other ones from this album and would definitely also recommend “Turn To Blue.”  If you listen to it…just wait out that hard stop in the middle…it turns out just fine in the end:) 

Anyway, back to Azalea City…so this kicks right into groovy from the first hard clicks of the minimalist drum beat and the vox’ed up guitar.  The melody line keeps you tapping your foot and Nick’s voice has a bit of a softened up raspiness to it, kind of lulling you into calmness.  This is a solid, mellow tune which is easy to listen along with but also has a few deeper intrigues if you take the time to find them.  

I believe I read on the Just Because FB site that Nick played all instruments on this record so many props for those talents! 

You can check out more of the music and information on the Bandcamp page https://justbecauserecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-multiverse-waltz

As always please remember to support your local folks doing all the good things ….community is powerful 🙂 

Song Review – Jordan Carr & The Boys “Rail Vodka” from the album Rail Vodka

I just felt the need to start out the year 2023 with a shout-out to one of my very favorite Minnesota musical groups.  I know that this one goes back a long ways but hey, you still really need to check it out.  Whether going solo or with his group The Boys, Jordan Carr can sing some very meaningful songs.  

This particular track has its very obvious meaning whether you know the whole story behind it or not.  You can check out the video on Youtube to get some context if you have the time.  The lyrics are stark enough and woven well into what starts out as a simple guitar moment.  It is well developed as time moves along into a much deeper song, cutting into a punchy rhythm section and several soaring guitar moments from Jordan Riggs.  

And a lyric like “I miss you in a way that makes me talk to the sky…” well, is just damn good.  

You can check out more of the music and information on the Bandcamp page https://jordancarr.bandcamp.com

Hey, it is a New Year…and you still should support all of your local talent and businesses – community is powerful!  

Song Review – Julian Taylor  “Murder 13” from the album Beyond The Reservoir

Somehow along the line…I have managed to miss out on Taylor’s music up to this point.  Beyond The Reservoir came across during one of my recent journeys through Bandcamp, mostly looking for tracks from artists north of the border.   Since then I have continued checking out his music…quite an enjoyable journey so far.  

Now some will say I am highlighting this one due to its baseball reference…and yes, great historical baseball flashbacks are cool…but it is actually the vocal quality and storytelling that make this a notable song.  The mastering on the vocals, at some points anyway,  seems to be right at the point of pegging out which works really well given the quality of Taylor’s voice.  It stays truly front-and-center with the bass inserting periodic exclamation points along the way.  The guitar is clean and simple, providing just enough accompaniment to give underlying substance to the music.  And the story itself…great details and what an unexpected turn at the end.  

Now I just have to figure out how to see this live…

You can check out more of the music and information on the Bandcamp page https://juliantaylor.bandcamp.com/

As always, remember to support your local businesses & musicians – community it powerful! 

Song Review – New Pony Funk “Torch Song” from the album Let’s Get Real

I was having a whole funk moment this week and went thought a good run of songs from all over the world.  In the end I picked this song to review although there were two Ghost Funk Orchestra tracks that were in contention right up until a few seconds ago.  All of it is such good music.  

I think I picked this one because it has such a classic sound.  There are many iterations and different takes on funk these days and I do enjoy them.  Sometimes though, these classic sounds are just what I need…there is some Tower of Power running through this song in just the right way.

This track kicks right from the very beginning with a solid drum beat (with bongos:) and a soulful guitar leading into the horns.  I read on this band’s website that they do have the brass section with them at live shows which would be great to see…someday I have to get to Philly to check it out.  There is also a nice, punchy bass that sets a good vibe throughout and the whole jam just keeps you bopping along.  And check out the jumpy piano solo that starts around the 2:30 mark…outstanding!

You can check out more of the music and information on the Bandcamp page https://newpony.bandcamp.com/

Take a minute to go out and support local artists – community is powerful 🙂 

Song Review – Amyl and the Sniffers “Guided by Angels” from the album Comfort To Me

Sometimes…somethings…just remind you of something from the past…and I do mean in a good way.  This recent release from Amyl and the Sniffers had that effect on me.  

Way back in the day there was a few very specific things that drew me to punk rock.  It was not just the pent up anger and disaffection of the bands that I was listening to at the time.  There was also something about the clarity of the lyrics, the lack of pretension and the driving beats of the music that made sense to me.  That is not to say that this track or the overall album is derivative of that 70’s and 80’s era of punk rock…it is more like it is a fitting revitalization of that vibe.  And I have heard you must see this band in concert to appreciate it all even more…hopefully I can catch them soon.  

You can check out more of the music and information on the Bandcamp page https://amylandthesniffers.bandcamp.com/

And remember to get out there and support your local artists – community is powerful! 

Song Review – Bill Scorzari “All Behind Me Now” from the album The Crosswinds of Kansas

Ahh…Bill Scorzari…this guy has long been a favorite of mine, mostly for his storytelling ability and his off-hand, sometimes slightly eccentric delivery.  It is incredibly effective and his songs…well they hit home.  He knows how to sing about real life.  

Honestly every track on this album is excellent but I chose this one to review for a few reasons:  

  • The beginning melody is so well done, it make me think it must be like what nostalgia sounds like when it is mixed with a bit of wistful thinking. 
  • Lyrically I think this is one of the strongest on the album.  Lines like, “I’ll put all of my thoughts into a new straw hat, and say I don’t have to care and leave you there with that,” well, are just awesome. 
  • There is an organ on this track (played by Danny Mitchell) that adds something special…it is just a very unique sound. 

A special note here for the collection of musicians on this album.  There is a wide-range of instruments across these songs and these musicians are stellar – they really build tone and space around Bill’s lyrics & guitar.  

You can check out more of the music and information on the Bandcamp page https://billscorzari.bandcamp.com

As always – please get out there and support your local businesses and artists – community is powerful 🙂

Song Review – Harlan T Bobo “Another Heavy” from the album Porch Songs

Man…you know…some things are just so damn good that when you hear them…you just let it all wash over you for a few hours.  That would be what happened when I clicked in to Basecamp and started listening to the new release from Harlan T Bobo.  

There is a wealth of simple, stark music on this album and I selected this track as I really liked the guitar sound.  Plus the first line, “you can run, you won’t get far, you can stay, stay and it’ll be hard,” is such a great piece of simple and poignant storytelling.  The accompanying musicians on this track do a great job of building a subtle atmosphere that gives you a kind of resigned yet dreamy feeling.  

And seriously…this album belongs in your collection 🙂

You can check out more of the music and information on the Bandcamp page https://harlantbobo.bandcamp.com

Please remember to support local music & businesses – community is powerful! 

Song Review -Off With Their Heads “Be Good” from the album Calm / Collected 

Hey!  Great news for me (and hopefully some of you) as there is a new Off With Their Heads release just out this week 🙂  

I selected this track (which leads off the album) as it is such a good example of the great music this band puts together every time to surround the raw emotions of Ryan Young’s lyrics.   This song comes in lightly on some guitars and a simple drum beat that provides an effective foundation for the moment when Ryan comes in with that raspy and powerful voice.  I always tell people when you want sincerity in your song lyrics…just listen to OWTH.   And a special high five moment for the slightly odd way this track goes out…you will have to listen to it yourself and see what you think.

If you have the inclination, this entire album is really good and definitely worth a purchase.  

You can check out more of the music and information on the Bandcamp page https://dasowth.bandcamp.com

As always, remember to support your local bands and businesses – community is powerful 🙂 

Song Review -Adam Baldwin “Causeway Road” from the album Concertos & Serenades 

When I saw the news flash across on my notifications that there was an upcoming release for a new Adam Baldwin album…well I was excited.  If we have spoken before, you know that I am a big fan of this musician.  His style and lyrics hit home with me almost every time.  This song is a pre-release treat 🙂

This track is typical of all of the things that I like about his music.  The melody here is calming and wistful with some great texture added by a violin.  And the lyrics…well, there is quite the detailed story being told here.  It is not a complicated tale, but an interesting one with some poignant moments included.  

As a side note, check out his “Chin Up” sessions on YouTube – they are great! 

You can check out more of the music and information on the Bandcamp page https://adambaldwin.bandcamp.com

Please support your local artists – community is powerful 🙂 

Song Review -The Tisburys “Garden” from the album Exile on Main Street  

First of all, this is just one of those songs that gets your attention because of the great rhythm and melody that fires off right as you hit “play.”  Then you of course have to hang out and see what happens …

Overall this is a well put together song and I really like the prominent bass overlay and the lead guitar part around the two-minute mark…and somewhere in there is a keyboard….yes?  Give it a listen and see what you think.  The lyrics gave me some pause and are worth study….I did especially like the “don’t hide behind your sacred symbols” part…very evocative. 

For some extra fun and good listening (if you are a Tisburys fan in general) check out their “Philadelphia’s #1 Deep Cut Bar Band Covering the Classics” album that was out in March of this year. 

You can check out more of the music and information on the Bandcamp page https://tisburys.bandcamp.com

Remember to get out there and support your local bands and artists – community is powerful 🙂