Jim Wurster: No Joke – Keys And Chords
‘No Joke’, the sixteenth album of the Florida resident Jim Wurster, is a production of Vinnie Fontana. Fontana, itself a popular musician, toured with, among others Timmy Thomas and Sly Stone. Fontana already cherish for years an immense admiration for the original work of Wurster and also recorded a huge number of musicians for this album, including the Atomic Cowboys, the fixed band of Jim. And that pays off. The pedal steel of Bob WLOS is at once partly responsible for the country on floating ‘No Joke’, with beautiful vocals of Jim and Trish Sheldon. Chased by screaming guitars plucked Wurster slowrockend with ‘Best Bad Love. ” What a song! Just install a break must have thought Wurster. He does with the acoustic, alternative country-leaning ‘Party Girl’ with Daphna Rose in the role of the dream, the world traveling party girl. That Wurster of all musical trades is, can be heard in the reggae-like “Dream, Dream, Dream,” while “Yes They Did ‘floats between folk and country. With ‘Love Thirsty’ closes the album out rocking. Some cover is Neil Youngs and Jim and Daphna Rose sang ‘Down By The River’, which certainly should not inferior to the original. Supermooie version! Sometimes Wurster’s laidback voice reminds a little of Cohen and like Leonard, Jim Wurster has a nose for good songs. Great album!
Belgium – Written in Music – ‘No Joke’
South Florida artist, Jim Wurster, has released his sixteenth work. The roots rock genre takes the guitarist and singer songwriter to a special place, as in earlier albums, he keeps exploring new musical territories. His supporting band, The Atomics Cowboys, include Bob Wlos (guitar and pedal steel) and drummer Frank Binger, part of Wurster’s road band. Producer and bassist Vinnie Fontana (a R & B veteran from Miami who has played with Betty Wright and Sly Stone) worked with carefully selected musicians. Nearly three-quarters of the tracks feature the raw vocals of Wurster with support from many of Florida’s prominent singers. The title song is a beautiful duet with Trish Sheldon, Dylanesque vocals leaning on the piano, organ and pedal steel of WLOS, resulting in a warm, novel country sound. ‘Yes They Did’ with Karen Feldner as a vocal guest, also comes close to Dylan’s Nashville Skyline period. The patter in the acoustic ‘Party Girl’ sounds convincing and the vocals of Daphne Rose are familiar. The singer is also prominent in a blistering, bluesy, and slightly psychedelic version of Neil Young’s ‘Down By The River,’ an inspired organ solo flanking the guitar and contributing to a version that does not fade next to the original. Best Bad Love, a large oversized brooding blues rocker with Omine Eager, lays a sturdy rhythm section and is the foundation for an unadulterated reggae built , ‘Dream, Dream Dream.’ ‘Psychedelic Hindu Guru’ sounds like the title suggests, a song that beckons to earlier work by the Steve Miller Band, and is also a successful experiment. (The album) ends in Love Thirsty a dark rocking epic. Alternative, intriguing roots music.
Belgium – Rootstime – ‘No Joke’
“American singer-songwriter Jim Wurster keeps surprising us by the broad diversity of his applied musical styles and his creativity and talent as a songwriter. Twenty instrumentalists and vocalists, join the American singer-songwriter in the studio to work with producer Vinnie Fontana for Wurster’s latest record “No Joke.” The former frontman of the rock group ‘Black Janet,’ composed eight new songs for this album with two songs that are more than 7 minutes: Neil Young’s “Down By The River” from his album “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” and Wurster’s rock song ‘Love Thirsty’ which he recorded in the 1990’s with ‘ Black Janet ‘.
He does, however, start in a country duet with Trish Sheldon, frontwoman of folk rock band ‘Blue Sky Drive Band’. Then comes the rocker, ‘Best Bad Love’ with blues singer Omine Eager and then immediately following comes a very soft country ballad “Party Girl” with the popular folk singer and songwriter Daphna Rose, something she does again moments later in the already mentioned blues dressed version of ‘Down By The River,’ that nails it.
Jim Wurster explores various musical styles on his albums, like reggae tune “Dream, Dream, Dream” where he brings together Alyssa McDoom and rapper Tim Swagg. His last duet, ‘Yes They Did’ fratures indie pop and rock singer/songwriter Karen Feldner from Miami Beach. His solo song “Into The Night” proves subsequently that he does equally well all alone.
“No Joke” is the sixteenth album in the long musical career of Jim Wurster and follows the 2014 release “RAW”. By the diversity of the musical styles he shows on each new album, he yet again amazes with his creativity and songwriting talent, and as evidenced by this record, he is also greatly appreciated by his fellow artists.
Hungary – Gondola – ‘No Joke’
The versatile and highly experienced musician, Jim Wurster, was born in sunny Florida. The rich history of recordings, even early in his career, has been not ended at 15 albums. Now, a new stone has been added to the discography. In the new release, ‘No Joke,’ it is not surprising that the themes of the songs are as experienced through everyday stories of his life and travels. The album from “Party Girl” to “Psychedelic” Hindu Guru-has many varied themes. Omine Eager, Trish Sheldon, Karen Feldner, Daphna Rose, Alyssa McDoom and Tim Swagger were invited to the Studio to perform, resulting in very beautiful duets. Of these, perhaps the most beautiful is the disc opener “No Joke”, which brings together Trish Sheldon and Wurster. The most popular songs in the repertoire: “No Joke”, “Party Girl”, and Psychedelic Hindu Guru “The majority of the album’s repertoire are Wurster’s own folk-blues-rock compositions, but it also includes a cover, such of “Down By The River” (Neil Young).
No Depression Magazine – Lee Zimmerman – ‘RAW’
Jim Wurster can claim credit as one of South Florida’s most original musicians, not simply because he possesses a singular sound but, more important, because he continually ventures into new terrain and does so without regard to commercial consequences. Indeed, ever since his tenure at the helm of the goth-like band Black Janet, Wurster has eschewed any need for fashion or frenzy in pursuit of his muse. Raw, Wurster’s latest, offers an apt title considering the set’s stripped-down feel. However, don’t be tricked into thinking this is some kind of exercise in sleepy acoustic balladry. It’s infused with eerie effects and electronic drones seemingly at odds with the laid-back motif. A mix of Wurster originals and eclectic covers — Neil Young’s “Southern Pacific,” Sonny and Cher’s “Bang Bang,” Fred Neil’s “Dade County Jail,” the Doors’ “Riders on the Storm,” and perhaps strangest of all, a medley that combines “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “You Are my Sunshine” — the songs take a decidedly dark turn in unexpected ways. Wurster’s voice recalls a sinister mashup of Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, and Lou Reed during a midnight encounter hosted by Nick Cave, while the stark setups lend the proceedings an ominous air. Nevertheless, RAW is a fascinating disc, one that’s both formidable and foreboding.
Germany – Country Jukebox Magazine – ‘RAW’
The CD title says it all: Raw stands for music that freed from any unnecessary frills…a compelling unit of Americana, Roots, and Folk-Rock. Under the direction of producer Bob Wlos, the singer/songwriter, Jim Wurster, from Miami Florida, never loses the essence of the songs. In addition to five original song creations, such as the beautiful, “A Little Bit of Room,” and the deeply moving, “Ojus,” Wurster also includes five covers including Neil Young, Sonny Bono and Jim Morrison…An exciting CD with passion and a lot of tradition.
France – Le Cri du Coyote Magazine – ‘RAW’
“He possesses a strong voice that dominates this recording. A singer who demonstrates originality and deserves to be known and recognized. Jim Wurster is perfectly balanced between past and present, drawing from Neil Young, Sonny Bono , the Doors , Fred Neil , and finally Jim Davis and Bill Withers (Sunshine Melody.) The compositions are at the same level of excellence that these occasion, so we face a very well made album , produced by Bob Wlos and we rejoice to come face to face with an artist that has such totally personal writing and voice. Raw is an excellent album worthy of its place in the CD collection of lovers of Americana.”
UK -Blues Matters Magazine – ‘RAW’
More country than blues, but this is still a very fine collection of songs both originals and covers. The more I listened to the album the more I must admit I was getting into it in a sort of smiling and knowing way…he has a fine way with his own songs and some surprising covers and I didn’t resist the urge to repeat tracks. His version of Fred Neil’s Dade County Jail is spot on and captures the feel of Johnny Cash, while his version of The Doors, Riders on the Storm, actually makes the song work, (simply as a song) almost better than the original. The album was recorded live in the studio and it definitely shows in the organic and immediate nature of the music.
Belgium – Bill Bop Magazine – ‘RAW’
Rating: 4 out of 5 **** Singer-Songwriter Jim Wurster delivers with this album, a nice mixture of his own compositions and cleverly chosen and uniquely performed renditions. Amongst the cover songs you’ll find tunes by Neil Young, Sonny Bono and Fred Neil. The Sony Bono song (Bang, Bang) is without the doubt the one most true to the original, but Riders on the Storm is the most honest. But also his own compositions are worth checking out. Take for instance, “Loping Vampire Blues,” “Ojus” or “Big Surprise.” Each of them are truly great songs in a not so typical singer-songwriter tradition. In the end you will have a selection of tunes that has something unique, something that sets them apart from the rest.
Sun-Sentinel Showtime – Ben Crandell – Video Release ‘Ojus’
When Cinema Paradiso Hollywood unveils a new monthly gathering aimed at the nexus of local music and film called CineMusique, it will shine the spotlight on a performer who has always had a cinematic bearing. A showcase of local musicians, their music videos and the filmmakers who created them, the inaugural CineMusique will feature the video for singer-songwriter Jim Wurster’s “Ojus” (from the album “RAW”), a gloriously stark and forbidding visual translation of a tale about soul-crushing vigilante vengeance. Its creator, Rick Santese, will be on hand to discuss his work. Much of the video for “Ojus” (named, Wurster says, for a small town near Greynolds Park in Miami, and inspired by a series of brutal robberies of elderly men on Hollywood, Florida’s Broadwalk several years back) was shot on the streets of downtown Hollywood. But the most interesting terrain explored onscreen is Wurster’s face, its ridges, plains and valleys dusty in melancholy and menace. It’s a familiar place, one that might be called Eastwood.
Miami New Times-Lee Zimmerman – ‘Straight To Me’
Wurster really came into his own when he went solo and formed the Atomic Cowboys taking a 180-degree turn in direction and crossing over into country with nods toward Johnny Cash, John Prine, and Hank Williams. “Straight To Me, ” his latest album, confirms that twangy intensity…it’s rare to find such authentic Americana in these environs given our South Florida soundscape rarely offers opportunity for harmonies and heartache – much less banjos, mandolins, or pedal steel guitars. With producer Jack Shawde shaping its down-home sound, the album exudes a world-weary perspective – one that’s occasionally dire and downtrodden, but mostly inspired and optimistic. Wurster’s rich croon often brings Roy Orbison to mind, especially on the album opener “Straight To Me,” while his star-crossed duets with Daphna Rose and Diane Ward on “It’s Just a Start” and “So Lucky” recall the best of Johnny and June. Fueled by heads-down determination, Wurster’s roughshod songs are both beautiful and beguiling.
Miami New Times – Bob Weinburg – ‘Goodbye Paradise’
What if Lou Reed found a trunkful of undiscovered Buddy Holly songs? What if John Prine fronted Poco back in the Tim Schmit days? What if David Lynch filmed and episode of Twin Peaks in a motel’s poolside tiki hut off Federal Highway? They all might sound like Jim Wurster’s Goodbye Paradise. Wurster wraps his world-weary vocals around unabashedly romantic lyrics; even sound titles sound like Hallmark sentiments: “”Never Let Me Go,” “Fallin’ Again,” “Something So Good.” But Wurster’s sly delivery lends a hint of irony, the old weasel-in-the-woodpile kind of subversion that puts the tang in the Sweetart. Paradise begins with the Black Janet front man’s Holly homage, “Never Let Me Go,” blending the hiccup and cry of Texas hillbilly with a twinge of over-it-all ennui on top of some blistering rock and roll. “Falling Again” is a gentle folker that rings with bright acoustic guitar (damned if this doesn’t sound like the beginning of about a dozen Poco tunes!) behind Wurster’s mellow-whisky voice. Standouts such as the snarky “The Wind Cries Kathryn” and “Goodbye Paradise” and aided by Bob Wlos’s plaintive pedal-steel guitar and John Tillman’s rhythmic six string. Mary Karlzen also guests, dueting on the countryish “Over You,” and, adding to the family feel, Roster Head’s Michael Kennedy provides guitar on the title track. ) (Janet’s drummer Frank Binger is also here, being Wlos’s L7 Studios is in Deerfield.) Rootsy and intelligent if not lyrically profound, Paradise gets the feel and attitude right. Makes you want to stop in at a dark bar in the middle of the day, have a shot and a beer, and play Roger Miller songs on the jukebox.
JAM Magazine – Bing Futch-‘W’
Jim Wurster’s Music is embedded with character and a singular vocal and guitar style that serve as extensions of the man, calling to mind a New Wave Dylan. In fact, “Angelique” is a wildly progressive Dylan-like tune before it lands smack-dab in the middle of an Appalachian square-dancing number called “Yellow Roses.” The band stays in the background pretty much except for standout cameos. “If Not Forever is a solo acoustic number that gets an added poignant sting from the steel guitar of Bob Wlos. Pete Cambell shines on guitar throughout the Neil Young cover “Cowgirl in the Sand” and a nod to ’60s surf-rock arises in “Little Bit Kind.” But, Wurster seems more at home when pared down to his most naked as in Grey Sky Day” with lines like “ache in my side, hole in my shoes / gun at my head with a bullet meant for you.
Billboard Magazine-Sandra Schulman, Love Thirsty – “Best Indie Release, 1993 Jammy’s
Black Janet is a real standout in the field of rock and pop music players in Florida. Headed by singer/songwriter Jim Wurster, the act takes deadly aim at a mature style of dark and bittersweet music. His voice is rich with a deep haunting resonance; the song lyrics are rife with themes of love and desire, longing and loss…Last year the band released “Love Thirsty,” a 13 song CD and it recently took honors as Best Independent release for the Statewide Jammy Music Awards. As regional radio play is spreading word of the band, Black Janet is playing gigs in Gainesville, Tampa and Orlando.
Jam Magazine- Black Janet – SHE
(****) “A must hear” – 4 star rating. Imagine an American version of Peter Murphy singing lead with Patti Smith supplying backing vocals while a rock-solid band backs them up, and you might come close to describing the sound of Miami’s longtime favorite Black Janet on this 6-song CD, produced in the hallowed halls of Criteria Recording Studios. Founder / songwriter / singer / guitarist Jim Wurster has kept his vision alive and the result has been numerous accolades from fans and press alike, including a Jammy for their last album, 1992’s Love Thirsty. The bands current line-up includes Wurster, singer Amy Baxter, guitarist Rose Guilot, drummer Frank Binger, and bassist David Paul. With She, Black Janet once again stands to get a good deal of attention. The six-song EP features four tracks penned by Wurster and one song apiece from Baxter and Guilot. The hauntingly beautiful “She,” from which this release gets its title, starts off this release-and should be a big radio hit, that is, if everything was just and fair in the world of music. A dark, almost “gothic,” quality permeates the entire CD, but isn’t overbearing nor heavy-handed at all. Major label quality both in the packaging and the sound can be found here. If the rest of the band’s repertoire is as good as these six songs, expect them to get signed to a major label deal in the very near future! – JAM Magazine