A landscape of ghost horses and cowboy elegies, weary lovers and leaving trains. An existential drive-in theatre where memories and icons flicker across lowering skies. With the release of his sophomore record Stripping Cane, Jeffrey Foucault presents a collection of bright, spare songs; an Americana bus-tour that moves from Country Blues to Murder Ballad, Twelve-Bar to Gospel.
Foucault's musical career was seeded at seventeen, when he began playing John Prine tunes on his father's beat up mail-order guitar, and spent long evenings in his bedroom, spinning piles of old records on a hand-me-down turntable. When he was 18 he stole a copy of Townes Van Zandt: Live and Obscure from a friend, and a few years later, having quit school to work as a farm-hand and a house-carpenter Foucault turned to writing songs.
Since the 2001 release of his critically-acclaimed debut Miles from the Lightning, Foucault -- a native of Wisconsin and recent transplant to western Massachusetts- has built an independent career touring extensively in the United States, Canada, and the UK. Along the way, he has played with artists and icons such as Guy Clark, Greg Brown, Chris Smither, Kelly Joe Phelps, Gillian Welch, Richard Buckner, John Hammond and others. MOJO praised Miles as "A striking debut. [Foucault] comes out sounding like the love-child of Chris Whitley and Kelly Joe Phelps... strong songs, a voice and blues guitar that sound wiser than his years."
Stripping Cane sees Foucault collaborating with producer and multi-instrumentalist David "Goody" Goodrich (Chris Smither, Peter Mulvey, Rose Polenzani) to bring the range and color of the songs into sharper relief, employing combinations of mandolin, banjo, slide, electric, and Nashville guitars in deceptively simple arrangements with deft internal logic. Additional contributions from touring partners Peter Mulvey (electric guitar, vocals) and Kris Delmhorst (fiddle, vocals), with Boston area veterans Anita Suhanin (vocals) and Kevin Barry (electric lap steel) rounding out the sessions.
The central image in the title track Stripping Cane -- of the battering work taken to pry the sweetness from an unforgiving source -- creates the context for the record as a whole. With his big and richly-toned fingerstyle work and poetic economy, Foucault triangulates complex emotions; exploring the polarities of dark and light, right and wrong, leaving and left. With Stripping Cane Jeffrey Foucault has created a distinctly Americana record, a hothouse where language, melody and form blend and bloom in delicate variation.