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by Elena See,
Jeff BlackJeff Black ~ Plow Through the Mystic

I did not want to listen to Jeff Black's new CD. I was almost dreading it, in fact.

Sounds strange, I know but wait, here' s why: I'm a big Jeff Black fan. I stumbled across B-Sides and Confessions Vol. 1 years ago and that was it - Jeff Black was my new favorite singer songwriter and that album was my go-to recording for years. The music, the lyrics, the voice it all worked together for me in that magic way it does sometimes and, like a favorite book that suddenly offers a sequel, I was hesitant about wanting to distract myself from the perfection I'd already found by trying to hear something new.

So you can understand my trepidation. I got over it, eventually and I am oh-so-glad I did. Listening to Plow Through the Mystic was like having that first Jeff Black experience all over again.

Jeff Black Plow Through the Mystic With a cast of supporting musicians including Matraca Berg, Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas, Black has created another masterful music soundscape that tells more than one or two great stories. We've got the most human, the most honest description of asking for forgiveness I've ever heard with the second cut on the recording, a song called "Sorry," we bump up along the fallout that occurs when religious zeal is taken to its most extreme in "Cure," and we get to stand alongside a truly honest acknowledgement that sometimes, even though you know you're lucky and you know you should be grateful for what you have in life, you're just not in "Wounded Heart."

These lyrics - so specific in describing their characters and their actions and yet so general that all of us can listen and relate in some way - are set off by the fact that there's not a single misplaced chord or extraneous note in the entire recording. The instrumentation is never blowsy or overblown - it's generally pretty spare (especially in the largely spoken word "Immigrant Song") and it works well, allowing Black's instrumental skills to shine and giving his guest musicians a few moments in the spotlight as well.

Jeff Black says he has felt a need to "observe and relate" since he was a kid and with Plow Through the Mystic, he has created a body of work that encourages anyone listening to observe and relate right along with him. He has been called "an artist of substance," "a musical genius," and someone whose music "reminds listeners how songwriting can trigger real emotion when it looks past the trivial" and this is all true. But the real reason to listen to and enjoy the new recording? It's just good music.

Click to order Plow Though The Mystic




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Lynda and I met Jeff and his family in New Bedford last year. He and his family are so personable and genuine. I enjoyed chatting with him about his music and other artists. He was just so gracious. I ended up buying all of his CDs (there are no bad ones). He did several sets and we did not miss one. I don't think he repeated a single song (huge repetoire).

Posted by Ray on November 08, 2012

I'm a very fortunate man. I was gifted this little luxury of music and the want of observation - Now to turn around and see a number of folks waving and following, within some good proximity, and in fairly close agreement with what I see, is without cliche' and in all sincerity, amazing. Thank you. I will see you all down the road. A very special thank you to everyone at Folk Alley for sharing this music and my songs with everyone on the planet. I am looking forward to drifting through your neighborhood again very soon. With all my heart, I am truly grateful. xoxoxo Jeff

Posted by Jeff Black on November 23, 2011

another collection of great stories and real emotion, put together with a great supporting cast of musicians. it's the type of record that, were it pressed on vinyl, you'd wear the grooves right off it...

Posted by kurt on November 22, 2011

I appreciate Jeff Black’s ability to tell real life stories with a rich believable voice.

Posted by Jeannie on November 18, 2011

What a smooth sound. Great songs and very competent back up. A believable voice thats easy to listen to.

Posted by Sam on November 18, 2011

I first heard of Jeff through his friend Sam Bush. Sam has covered several of Jeff's songs over the years. After listening through twice, my fave so far is "Cure".

Posted by Sloan on November 18, 2011

Been following Jeff's music for quite a few years now, he just keeps getting better. You wouldn't regret buying this record.

Posted by Kerry on November 16, 2011

His best record yet. How could he not miss with a supporting cast of Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, Kim Richey, Matraca Berg and Gretchen Peters? Oh, and the songs are pretty good, too. Well done, Jeff! Now get your butt up to Kent so we can hear these songs live (please?)!

Posted by EdB on November 16, 2011

I llike him. Sounds like Lyle Lovett on many phases, Dylan on others, and I am guessing himself, no doubt, on the rest.

Posted by JC on November 16, 2011

I llike him. Sounds like Lyle Lovett on many phases, Dylan on others, and I am guessing himself, no doubt, on the rest.

Posted by JC on November 16, 2011

He reminds me of Gregg Brown, whom I love.

Posted by Unger on November 16, 2011

He reminds me of Gregg Brown, whom I so enjoy.

Posted by Cindy MN on November 16, 2011

He reminds me of Gregg Brown, whom I love.

Posted by Unger on November 16, 2011

I enjoyed this immensely! A new find for me - thanks for the introduction.

Posted by Kathie B on November 16, 2011

Absolutely great. I've never heard Jeff. How can that be? Thank you for putting this on here like this so I could discover him.

Posted by Tracy Newman on November 15, 2011

Simply one of the best songwriters on the planet! Sure glad the wait is over. Jeff's music is balm to the human condition.

Posted by James on November 15, 2011

Rough 'n' tough 'n' dirty voice. Best song: "Happiness". Go on slidin'!

Posted by Bernd Hansen on November 15, 2011

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