Jeff Jensen (Live) – The River City Sessions | Album Review

jeffjensencdJeff Jensen (Live)The River City Sessions

Swingsuit Records

11 tracks – 66:54

After several years of relentlessly touring across the country and the European continent, guitarist Jeff Jensen decided it was time to capture his band in peak form with a live recording at the famous Ardent Studios in Memphis in front of an audience of some of his most devoted fans. Backed by his long-time musical partner Bill Ruffino on bass and Robinson Bridgeforth on drums, Jensen kicks things off with a high-octane rendition of T-Bone Walker’s “T-Bone Shuffle,” his guitar spitting out cascades of notes until he breaks things down to a more mellow approach. The sprightly tempo of “Make It Through,” one of eight Jensen originals, drives an upbeat message about surviving heartbreak with a smile.

The band uses the instrumental “JJ Boogie” to get the studio audience all wound up, then shifts gears as Jensen offers a slow lamentation on”Find Myself All Alone,” complete with another fleet-fingered solo that builds to a feverish conclusion. “Brunette Woman” features Ruffino’s rumbling bass line and Bridgeforth’s driving beat behind the tale of a torturous matrimonial situation. Another instrumental, “Elephant Blue,” puts Ruffino in the spotlight. Jensen fires off a fiery solo at a blistering pace.

Next up is a staple of the band’s live shows, Tom Wait’s “Heart Attack And Vine”. With plenty of encouragement from the audience, Jensen pulls some razor-sharp tones from his guitar before launching into a solo that seems to be rapidly spinning out of control. Pulling back from the precipice, Jensen breaks out his megaphone for the final verses as the fans shout out the title line. Clocking in at almost nine minutes, the ballad “Can’t Believe We’re Through” takes a hard look at the betrayal of love with Ruffino supplying the backing vocal. “Ash And Bone” reveals the tender side of Jensen’s artistry.

To finish the show, the musicians deliver a powerful run-through of “All Along The Watchtower”. Ruffino takes over the lead vocal for one verse to the delight of the listeners. Jensen weaves impassioned licks and quieter, lyrical guitar passages into a captivating performance that ends the show on a high note. Long-time Jensen fans will certainly want to have this fine document that conveys much of the energy that emanates from the stage during the band’s live performances. Other listeners should certainly check this one out – then catch Jensen live to experience his dynamic live show.

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