|Mead is your quintessential musical journeyman, travelling the country from the east to the west coast and everywhere else in between, gigging at pubs, clubs, venues and festivals. Another gig, another town – such has been the troubadour life of Jez Mead for the past 10 years. Playing his own brand of blues folk fusion with an acute pop sensibility, Mead clocks up the clicks (50,000 last year alone), listens to endless old school cassettes and has amassed life experiences that all have been translated into an album of ingenious purity and startling beauty.|
‘Beard of Bees’ is Mead’s fourth album, and is the one that most reflects his live sound. All that singing for his supper has gifted Mead with a voice that sounds like it has been dipped in honey then smoked like a ham. His striking octave defying bluesy voice, shifts effortlessly from the swampy gravelly growl of the country inspired title track ‘Beard of Bees’ and “Town’s Too Small”, where he cries out in a almost primordial pain about his big broken heart before effortlessly switching to a soft evocative lilting tone on the new single ‘Blackberry’ and “So Much Love Gone Wrong”, sardonic dark tales of love gone astray, but in the guise of feel good pop.
The eclecticism of this album is inspired and informed by Mead’s guitar playing style – slapping and tapping, bending and bashing, finger picking and strumming, tuning and de tuning, and sometimes wringing his beloved Maton’s bloody neck – only then to take it in arms and caress it so sweetly and gently, you can almost hear it shivering in delight. Add to that soaring seven part harmonies and dashes of delicious violins from Clace & Steph Higgs, Mead’s own wailing harmonica, 30 students from the School of Engineering hand clapping and a heartbreaking duet with the equally pure voiced Julia Stone on ‘Devil’ and you have an album that will invade your mind, leave an in-print of your soul and stomp on your heart whilst kissing you on the lips.
“and the floor just falls away as the music starts to play” ….
‘Beard of Bees’ will be released on Belly up Records, distributed through
EMI Music Australia on June 25, 2010