Reviews & Press
Jackson Cavalier: One//Four - A
Folk Garden Of Admiration And Growth
FLOATED Magazine Review
By: Paula Cummings
Like the black and white labyrinthine album art, the music at first seems deceptively simple. It soon becomes apparent to the listener that the songs are comprised of multiple layers of acoustic texture and lyrical meaning. Spellbound comes out of the gate at a full gallop with the title track, an acoustic song heavy on guitar and harmonica. The Southwest-inspired finger-picked tune sets the tone for a bewitching tale about trying to avoid a spell, but finding it’s too late. The shanty sets the tone for the entire 12-track album, which shares the common theme of being enchanted – whether by love, death, or even time itself.
Cavalier uses the medium of Indie Folk Rock to take listeners on a journey through an anthology of timeless tales. “Mt. Hope Blues” is set in the hills of Rochester’s Victorian cemetery, and told from the perspective of a ghost watching his beloved pick wildflowers for his grave. The boot-stomping song “Sister Prim” tells a story of revenge by a woman scorned. “Razor Wire Death Song,” the one single pre-released before the album, is perhaps the most poetic: “I see the reaper grim and tall / scythe and cloak and horse and all. / He’s not a specter on a hill to be feared, / he’s standing right in front of me beside this mirror.” Later in the album Cavalier reels it way back for the sparse and sentimental ballad “Ribbons.”
The harmonious pairing of the music and storytelling has a mesmerizing effect. The result of Cavalier’s adept musicianship is a work that has come by its name honestly, as it truly leaves the listener spellbound.
Half Moon Review
By: Frank De Blase
This album is nothing short of beautiful. One-man-band Jackson Cavalier is a study in bittersweet juxtaposition as he and his lonesome guitar come steamrolling out in this rollicking, folk-rock display called "Half Moon." The opening track, "Dead Bird," is a happy finger-picked ode with Cavalier's guitar style keeping it upbeat. Track two adds percussion and another guitar, while the next cut, "The Family Name," shows off the man's exquisite ability to pick a melody at the same time as pulling off an underlying Piedmont flurry and scurry beneath.
Strummed or picked, Cavalier's guitar playing shines bright, especially when sharing sonic space with his flinty voice. In contrast, Cavalier's lyricism is a little dark. "I want to pluck you like fruit from a tree / I want your pleasure, please devour me," he sings on the tune "Fruit From a Tree." This darkness doesn't intimidate but rather invites you in on the mirth. Dark stuff makes a lot of us laugh, you know.