As a musician Marcellus Hall has been in the bands White Hassle and as lead singer and co-founder of the NYC indierock band Railroad Jerk. RJ put out a some incredible albums in the mid-90’s on Matador Records, particularly One Track Mind, a record that I played the grooves out of back in the day (“Gun Problem,” “Bang The Drum” etc). If Railroad Jerk came out today, the music blogiverse would explode with happiness. I guess that’s my way of saying RJ were blogrock ahead of our time. They took blues, punk, R&B and life in New York City and whipped it up into something quite unique. I think what The Grifters were to Memphis, Railroad Jerk were to NYC.
As an illustrator, Hall (a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design) has contributed to The New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, Time, and The Atlantic as well as several children’s books. He’s also self-published collections of his writing and drawings.
Hall enters into the solo arena with a smart “singer-songwriter”/”acoustic” record called The First Line which is coming out on February 22nd on Isaac Brock’s (Modest Mouse) Glacial Pace label. Hall has lost none of witty lyrical, absurdist, reflective bite and observations about life since his days with Railroad Jerk. On The First Line he comes off a little bit like Zevon (for the outlook) and Conor Oberst and Loudon Wainwright (w/out the shtick) (for the voice).
This is just a damn good honest record.
Download: The First Line – Marcellus Hall