Jake Merritt Releases New Album 'Old Soul'
The title of Jake Merritt’s album, Old Soul, can be taken a few ways. On the one hand, it can describe a veteran performer. However, Merritt’s only been a solo artist for a relatively short while after leaving the
band Another Wave. Therefore, Old Soul probably better describes the music contained on this nine-track release. With that said, though, soul is but one style of music represented on this rewarding album.
There’s lots of rock and blues (and other stuff) contained within, as well.
Whether intentional or not (but probably intentional) the first half of this album is comprised of amplified music, whereas the second half is more acoustically based, even though the closer, “The Tide” contains a wonderful, elongated electric guitar solo. The album opens, though, with “Hometown,” which is jazzy/soul groove. It features Merritt singing in a gruff voice while backed by a female vocalist. The song also includes saxophone weaving its way all the way through it. It also incorporates electric piano driving it. It sounds a little like one of those ‘70s jazz-influenced songs that made it onto AM radio during the pre-disco era. Toward the track’s end, there’s some really fine interplay between Merritt’s electric guitar and the saxophone part. This one is followed by another slightly loud track, “Don’t Go Too Far.” It, too, finds Merritt stretching out on guitar. It has a bit of a spooky vibe, in fact.
Merritt lets his blues appreciation shine during “Take Your Time,” which is a blues song that, well, takes its time. Over a slowly, measured blues groove, Merritt begins it with a soulful electric guitar solo
intro. He sings it just as thoughtfully. Lyrically, the song talks about the value of time. They may say time is money, but these two are not the same thing. Money can buy a lot of things, but it can never buy time. We should never take time for granted. Speaking of getting focused on the right things, one titled “The Ride” begins with Merritt remembering taking a recent long drive, in hopes of clearing his head. He also talks about ‘the ride’ to describe the trajectory of a relationship. With an electric guitar accompaniment that sounds a little like the way Mark Knopfler played with Dire Straits, Merritt sings about one day meeting someone “on the other side,” Enjoying the ride, while it lasts, is all about appreciating the here and now with the ones we love.
“Let Go Of The Weight” is another one of Merritt’s ’taking stock’ lyrics. He sings it about someone that tends to blame him/herself, rather than see the true cause – the circumstances of life. Merritt
created this album during the pandemic, and many of the words to his songs reflect its inspiration. When you’re forced to put your life on hold – and in the case of touring musicians, stay home for a spell – you can’t help but become more reflective. Being locked down was a drag, it’s true, but perhaps some good came out of it. We were able to finally stop and think about what’s important in life. “If I’m With You” is Merritt’s way of giving thanks for home and family. For Merritt, life is good, after all.