CD Review of The Magnificent Adventures of Heartache by Jason Reeves
Recommended if you like
Josh Rouse, Five Times August,
Matt Nathanson
Label
Warner Bros.
Jason Reeves:
The Magnificent
Adventures of Heartache

Reviewed by Mike Farley

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I
f you were to count on your fingers how many singer/songwriters are releasing albums these days, it would take 100 hands or so. Narrow that down to the good ones, and it would still be too many to count. So while the music industry is in a constant state of change, it’s a refreshing surprise that a big shot label like Warner Brothers can find and sign talent like Jason Reeves.

Reeves’ major label debut, The Magnificent Adventures of Heartache, is by no means a re-invention of the wheel. But this young Iowa product has lived enough life to write lyrics that belie more maturity than his years would suggest, and employs huge hooks that should catch a lot of attention. There is also a positive, breezy quality about Reeves’ music that admirers of Josh Rouse will just love.

“Someone Somewhere” and “Never Find Again” are so perfectly constructed, you’d think Reeves spent time in the songwriting capital of the country – Nashville. In fact, any of these songs could be recorded by a country artist and make that crossover. But this is about Reeves, so let’s continue. “Happy Accident” is about trying to relive a serendipitous moment and these lyrics just say it all: “Will it ever be like that again? / Like a happy accident?” There is also a ‘70s pop bent running through these tracks, in particular “You in a Song” and “Pretty Eyes,” the latter a harmony-drenched beauty. Reeves is also adept at wrapping melodies around piano riffs as he does on “Sunbeam Lights,” and he has a convincing falsetto on “Photographs & Memories.” But the best track might be “Gasoline,” which aptly begins slow and then lifts to huge heights, as if Reeves himself has stepped on the accelerator. 

With 15 tracks, it’s almost a given that some of the tracks will sound the same and/or run into each other, but with eight or nine really strong tunes on the album, it’s hard to complain. Regardless, debut albums on major labels are given such a small window to succeed; let’s hope Jason Reeves will be given every opportunity he deserves. He’s certainly done his job of making a fine album to kickstart his career.

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