Last waltzes for last call – unpure siren songs, if you will; a seductive invitation to the dark side.
Tess is tumbleweed noir - a dusky landscape littered with empty bottles and broken dreams, where bedrooms are ghost towns and love - while not exactly a battlefield - could easily land you in a jail cell. Pickerel sings “I try to reach out for something real, like a shot and a shiver and a stranger shall deliver a fraction of the love I used to give her,” on the haunting “I Study Horses,” a standout track from Tess that chronicles bittersweet regret and the memories of loss.
But scars add character and bad decisions make for good anecdotes and even better songs. Delivered with Pickerel’s wounded baritone in a cinematic and romantic musical setting, they also make a great mating call. Tess is an album full of last waltzes for last call – unpure siren songs, if you will; a seductive invitation to the dark side.
Recorded at Jupiter Studios under the expert care of Martin Feveyear (Brandi Carlile, Mark Lanegan), Tess has an incredible cast of musicians pulled from Pickerel’s arsenal of friends and collaborators. From guitarist Johnny Sangster (The Tripwires), Celloist Barb Hunter (The Gutter Twins, Twilight Singers, Visqueen), pedal steel guitarist
Margrethe Bjorklund (Jack White, John Doe, Giant Sand) and bassist Drew Church (Mark Lanegan, The Cops) to Jeff Fielder (Mark Lanegan, Isobel Campbell), guitarist Ian Moore (Roky Erickson, Jason Mraz), drummer
Mike Musburger (The Posies, The Supersuckers) to bassist Jim Sangster (The Young Fresh Fellows), Pickerel left no stone unturned when it came to finding the right talent to flesh out his evocative collection of songs.
When complimented on how great his new record is, Pickerel answered, “Blame my band, they’re some of the best musicians in the world, kidnapped/stolen from some of the best BANDS in the universe!”
Tess does not yet come with a warning label. After all, all’s fair in love and war – and who’s to say they’re not the same?