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 – 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 🙂 

Song Review -The Big Shaboozie  “Mr. Phony” from the album Mr. Phony EP  

If you have caught any of this band’s music prior to the release of the current EP there will be a nice, familiar feel to this song.  There is a great groove to this track that carries you along from a slightly muted lead-in to some nice drums and guitars.  The supplemental vocals tracks here also add some good layers of atmosphere  – there is some real depth there especially if you slap on some cans and really drop into the sounds for a bit.  

For some extended listening pleasure (aside from the rest of this EP) check out their Shades of Faces album – you will not be disappointed.  

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

Hey, it is summer!  Get out there and experience your local area – community is powerful.  

Song Review -The Gabbard Brothers  “Little Mama” from the album The Gabbard Brothers 

Hmmm…that is what I thought as I listened through this song for the first time.  Having been a fan of Buffalo Killers and also Andrew Gabbard’s solo endeavors (recently reviewed here) I was waiting for this collaboration to come out.  This track, an early release from the upcoming album set to drop in July, had me intrigued for sure but uncertain on exactly how I felt about it.  

Ten repeats later, I can say that I like it more every time I hear it.  The mix on this is interesting with the instruments just a little but forward of the vocals and the atmosphere of the music has a bit of the Beach Boys to it.  There is a very cool guitar part around the 1:30 mark and the pacing changes at several places throughout provide nice space.  And that lead out on piano at the end…very nice 🙂 

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

If you are interested in diving a little bit deeper you can find Buffalo Killers here https://buffalokillers.bandcamp.com

As always, please support your local businesses, artists and friends – community is powerful.  

Song Review -DEHD “Stars” from the album Blue Skies

Song Review -DEHD “Stars” from the album Blue Skies

What can I say…I love this band and have been a fan for awhile.  I had previously heard “Bad Love” off this album which I believe was an early release on Bandcamp.  Having just checked back in and saw this entire album was available I had to jump at the chance to review one song 🙂

This track (and the album as a whole) is a very familiar DEHD song in all of the best ways…slightly eccentric guitar & smooth vocals from Jason Balla, simple & poignant rhythm from Eric McGrady and bellicose vocals & bass from Emily Kempf.  Listening to this song puts you in the mood to break out into a hypnotic dance groove.  

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

You can also check out my review of their album “Water” here https://jackmesenbourg.com/2021/05/16/album-review-dehd-water/

Please remember to support your local musicians 🙂 – community is powerful.  

Song Review -Olathia “Believe” from the album Madness Reigns

Strange things happen.  I know I have said it before and it still mostly holds true…the cover is never better than the original.  Then, just the other day I was kicking around online looking for music from Ohio-based bands and came across Olathia.  More specifically, I came across their album Madness Reigns which contains covers of two Savatage songs.  How long had it been since I had thought of that band?  Well, it had been awhile indeed, although I did remember the song Believe from their Streets: Rock Opera album.  Thinking about Savatage took me on a little rabbit hole adventure involving the death of Criss Oliva, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and that oddly unsettling cover to their Gutter Ballet album….I pulled the plug at that point and went back to to this cover of Believe by Olathia.

I have to say…I was pretty impressed and it might actually be…better than the original.  Chris E. has a great voice and is backed by solid musicians.  They give this song that soaring yet somber tone that makes these kind of anthem-style songs really work.  There is a better depth of sound and ambiance in this version that the original…in my opinion anyway 🙂   Definitely take a few minutes to listen to it  and let me know what you think.  

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

Keep getting out there and supporting your local people and businesses 🙂 – community is powerful.  

Song Review -Andrew Gabbard “Cloud of Smoke” from the album Live in Loveland

Some songs are amazing in their relative simplicity and this is one of the classics.  A song like this you can just wrap around yourself while sitting on the porch passing the time on a cool evening.  The music that accompanies the strong vocal treatment really helps as the clean rhythm and airy pedal-steel relax your mind and add a very warm tone.   Feel free to put it on repeat and chill out for a long time.  

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

And remember to get out and support your local businesses – community is powerful.