Jeffrey Foucault has been around for a while; two albums with a project called Cold Satellite and four solo albums. This latest effort, Salt As Wolves (the title taken from Othello, of all places), is his fifth and it’s an exercise in pure American musics – country, Americana, blues – lyrically rich, literate and pure. The production is clean and crisp and yet, the arrangements, while full, are stripped down perfectly – all meat, no fat.
Beginning with “Des Moines”, you immediately get the feel, which is critical – to be able to connect with this collection from the first guitar strums; “Rico” has some fine blues-y swamp-style picking with delicious reverbed twang and “Left This Town” is Americana-pop (if you think of Mellencamp at his peak – circa Scarecrow – this would be a good approximation) – soulful, thoughtful and wholly embraceable. “I Love You (And You Are A Fool)” is mournful yet sweet (the perfect contradiction) – quintessential country and a most tasteful, simple guitar solo; “Jesus Will Fix It For You” is some down home blues with sharp guitar, minimal percussion and a quasi-church sounding chorus; “Hurricane Lamp” is a beautiful, acoustic framed piece with upfront vocals that give a greater dramatic thrust to the song and “Strange Heat And Thunder” is an acoustic blues piece that has a hypnotic feel – images of a rain storm near the Mississippi come to mind.
So it has to be said that any songwriter who can deliver a piece as powerful and as stark as this is just alright by me. Jeffrey Foucault has a masterpiece on his hands with this album – and it’s now made me want to work my way backwards. An absolute must.
Salt As Wolves is available now