I must confess I’m a little late jumping on the Jack Klatt bandwagon. But in my defense, Klatt was a little late starting the bandwagon in the first place. After ditching college to pursue his music he spent six years on the road as a vagabond troubadour, playing for his every next meal. During that time he learned several American roots styles including Country, Blues, Folk, Rockabilly and even Ragtime. He learned how to finger pick. He learned how to read the lines on people’s faces and convey their stories through song. In 2012 he put those skills to tape and released his first album, Mississippi Roll. He followed that up with 2013’s critically acclaimed Love Me Lonely. This year his bandwagon picks up steam with the release of his latest effort, Shadows In The Sunset. Recorded in a 100 year old former church with fantastic natural acoustics, Shadows In The Sunset is the culmination of Klatt’s musical journey.
With a voice as warm and comfortable as well-worn leather, Klatt combines the musical and vocal styles of JJ Cale and Jim Lauderdale (with a pinch of regional Americana favorite, Scott Hrabko.) The result is an eminently satisfying, slow rolling, Country/Blues album that can best be described as – Authentic.
From the sharecropper Blues of “Sweet As Honey” to the steel-guitar flavored, tropical Country of “Roadrunner” to the straight up Blues of “Jack’s Blues” to the Ragtime influence of “Booze Song,” Klatt sings and plays from the heart. And although every song on the album is flavored with the Blues, it is an optimistic, triumph-of-the-soul type Blues. Like Robert Wilkins’ classic “Prodigal Son,” Klatt realizes that whatever hard times lay behind us and whatever trouble may lie ahead, the best we can do is make the most of this moment. Or as Klatt himself phrases it in “Sweet As Honey:” “Rain on my rooftop, blues on my brain. One day I’ll be old and walk with a cane. But that day ain’t now, what more can I say. Life is sweet as honey. All I have lost I have gained.” Americana fans have gained as well because from start to finish, Shadows In The Sunset is truly sweet as honey.