Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Jeb Loy Nichols

  • Lovers Knot [Capitol, 1997] A-
  • Just What Time It Is [Rykodisc, 2000] **

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Lovers Knot [Capitol, 1997]
The former Fellow Traveller is so subtle it's hard to see how he'll ever crash out of the Americana ghetto--or into it, since his Wyoming-Missouri pedigree quickly gave way to postpunk New York and then London, where he once roomed with Ari Up. Maybe a Don Williams cover, if anybody this side of the Eric Clapton Fan Club remembers that hummable hubby anymore. Until then you'll have to make do with Nichols's less pushy tunes, rendered in a country-soul drawl that rarely ventures above a sleepy murmur and undergirded by a sinuous funk-reggae groove that reads incongruous and sounds ordained. He sings mostly about married love, as strung out as a week of insomnia and as pleasant as an after-dinner stroll. A-

Just What Time It Is [Rykodisc, 2000]
Too subtle for too long, although the tunes do pick up drastically four tracks in, when he takes on a collaborator ("Room 522," "Kissing Gate"). **