Jake Winstrom

Independent release, 2020

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Though he lives in New York now, the singer-songwriter Jake Winstrom was born and raised in Tennessee. He brings the spirit of his birth state to this sophomore album that runs power pop ideas through his imaginative and highly atypical delivery. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Along for the effort are Knoxville luminaries Peggy Hambright (Judybats), Dave Nichols (Smokin' Dave And The Premo Dopes), and Greg Home (RB Morris), who lend their esteemed skills to the two year process necessary to make this record.

“Come To Texas She Said” starts the listen with Winstrom's very inviting tenor pipes guiding a retro-pop opener where both keys and pedal steel are in attendance, and “Think Too Hard” keeps the throwback nods alive with some soaring folk ideas.

Although there's just nine tracks included here, each one is quite memorable, including the lively brass and upbeat appeal of “What's The Over/Under?,” while the pretty “I Walk In Circles” flirts with balladry and orchestral strings that add much to the mood. “Washed My Face In A Truck Stop Mirror” is particularly great, as energetic piano rock meets quieter ebbs of reflection where blues guitars are present and appreciated.

Deep into the listen, “The Crystal Ball” is as close to country as Winstrom will get, where organ and backing vocals from Sarah E. Smith help cultivate a firm Americana angle. “Kilimanjaro” finishes out the listen electric guitar heavy as alt-rock ideas are explored under a haze of dreamy, mesmerizing song craft.

Circles is an album that starts out with parallels to Cheap Trick but ultimately ends up resembling Neil Young, The Byrds, Tom Petty, or even Elliott Smith further down the line. Jake Winstrom is probably not a name you know right now, but will certainly be one you won't forget with just one spin of this inimitable and charming album.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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