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Jake Xerxes Fussell’s second full-length album, What in the Natural World, is out today and now available to stream and download in full.

Alongside the release of the album, the Oxford American has featured the Durham, North Carolina singer and guitarist with a special emphasis on the fifth track, “Bells of Rhymney.” This arcane coal miner’s lament shares its text, by Welsh poet Idris Davies, with the song popularized by Pete Seeger and the Byrds, complete with personified, protesting bells, but here Jake supplies his own gospel-tinged musical setting.

I lived in Mississippi for about ten years and several years before I left I was playing music a lot with this guy Reverend John Wilkins (who is a Memphis-based Gospel musician). His father is Robert Wilkins, who recorded back in the twenties as a blues singer and later as a gospel musician. So I had to really familiarize myself with that sort of ‘guitar evangelism.’ The approach that I’m using in ‘Bells of Rhymney’ is straight out of that idiom.” 

– Jake Xerxes Fussell as told to Oxford American

“While some have called Fussell’s music “atmospheric,” the descriptor misses his historical grounding; on the flipside, any implication of “root” overlooks the ease and freeness of his sound.The image of a river, featured on both of his albums’ covers, is well suited—the history of each song selection, like tributaries, flow into the main waterway, feeding a powerful current of evolution and exchange. And here is Jake Xerxes Fussell, floating down that river, strumming away.” 

– Jack Rosenberg, The Oxford American

Fussell will head out on a spring UK and EU tour co-headlining with Daniel Bachman, followed by a summer US tour in support of Joan Shelley (full list of dates below). He will celebrate the album release with a full-band performance (featuring fellow PoB artist Nathan Bowles, Nathan Golub, and Casey Toll of Mt. Moriah) at the Nightlight in Chapel Hill today, March 31, supported by Asheville guitarist Sarah Louise and Carolina Soul DJs.

There will be traditional Lumbee chicken bog, prepared by Jefferson Currie. Come through!





“9/10. Achingly beautiful… a record that yields a procession of hidden treasures. Fussell has an uncanny ability to illuminate the present by propping up a window against the past. Whatever the raw material’s vintage, the protagonist’s pursuit of abstract notion—freedom, empowerment, danger, fulfillment—is every inch as pertinent today.” Uncut

“It’s difficult to imagine another contemporary interpreter delivering a tale of desperation and sadness with such tenderness, warmth, and grace. Jake Xerxes Fussell is a national treasure.” Aquarium Drunkard

“Fussell freely adapts early American roots music, teasing out new melodic subtleties and overseeing small-band arrangements that bring crystalline folk-rock glow to decades-old songs.” Chicago Reader

“Jake Xerxes Fussell, the otherworldly guitar player, has an innate ability to infuse traditional folk songs and older works with a revived sense of purpose, a freshly calibrated compass.” FLOOD


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Jake Xerxes Fussell US Tour Dates

March 31 ( Tonight!!) – Chapel Hill, NC @ Nightlight (full band Record Release show) w/ Sarah Louise + PoB and Carolina Soul DJs
April 8 – Oxford, MS @ End of All Music (in-store) w/Nathan Bowles
April 8 – Oxford, MS @ Proud Larry’s w/Nathan Bowles

May 31 – Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop*
June 1 – Milwaukee, WI @ Collectivo*
June 2 – Minneapolis, MN @ Bryant Lake Bowl*
June 3 – Chicago, IL @ Old Town*
June 4 – Cedar Rapids, IA @ CSPH Hall*
June 6 – Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews*
June 7 – Kansas City, MO @ Knuckleheads*
June 8 – St. Louis, MO @ KDHX Stage*
June 9 – Paducah @ Maiden Alley Cinema*
June 10 – Louisville, KY @ Headliners*
June 11 – Nashville, TN @ The Basement*
June 13 – Decatur, GA @ Eddie’s Attic*
June 14 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle*
June 15 – Vienna, VA @ Jammin’ Java*
June 16 – Freehold, NJ @ Concerts in the Studio*
June 17 – Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall*
June 18 – Northampton, MA @ Parlor Room*
June 20 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle*

*supporting Joan Shelley

Jake Xerxes Fussell EU/UK Tour Dates

April 21 – Berlin – Nogatklause
22 – Hannover – Oberdeck
23 – Bonn – Kreuzung an St. Helena
24 – Wiesbaden – Wakker am Wallufer Platz
25 – Koln – TBA
26 – Dusseldorf – Nimbus
27 – Paris – Le Zorba
28 – Bexhill On Sea – Music’s Not Dead
29 – Totnes – Unit 23 Totnes
30 – Bristol – Centrespace Gallery
May 1 – London – Café OTO
2 – Cambridge – The Blue Moon
3 – Nottingham – TBA
4 – Clun – The Sun Inn
5 – Liverpool – HUS
6 – Todmorden – TBA
7 – Sheffield – Broomhall Community Centre
8 – Stirling – Tolbooth Stirling
9 – Glasgow – The Glad Cafe

*All dates with Daniel Bachman