In 2009 Jeremy Rak (singer-songwriter) and Michael Proctor (guitarist) formed the foundation for what would become Sephus Lee. Initially, they were a guitar-picking duo but it wasn’t long before they added Adam Glatz (drums) in 2010. The addition of Glatz inspired the stylistic evolution of the band. It wasn’t until two years later in 2012 that they got around to adding Mike Ickes (bass) and starting working on what would be their first EP entitled Heard It Tell.
Heard It Tell contains some decent songwriting, which combines folk/rock/blues with an undercurrent of Americana. The most original aspect of the songs is when they explore the darker sides of folk music. It’s a very unique approach, which I found to be an interesting aspect to their music.
The EP starts with “Devil Don’t Care,” which is a solid blues song revolving around reverb-laced guitar and the howl of Jeremy Rak. It’s fairly predictable but well delivered nonetheless. The highlight of the EP for me was the third song “Hatchet Man” which taps into the darker side of folk I was referring to earlier. I enjoyed the elements the band brings together in order to deliver a rather haunting song with lyrics that are downright creepy. Rak sings “Got me a pistol / Got me a bowie knife / Any man do you wrong / You know I'll kill him twice / Cuz I got a little darkness in me / And I'm gonna let it shine / Baby, when you see it / Then you will be all mine.”
The band closes with another highlight entitled “Low Tide Blues.” It’s a murky blues-inspired song that contains a killer guitar solo. The ending rocks out in pretty epic fashion.
Overall, Heard It Tell is a good start but the band could also do with a bit of minor tweaking here and there. I liked Rak’s vocals and felt they were appropriate for the music but there were a number of times he was noticeably out of key. Additionally, some of the parts in the songs follow rock n’ roll clichés, which is fine but often lacks originality. These are things that will most likely iron themselves out as the band starts to solidify.
On the plus side the band has an innate chemistry, can write a good tune and also are really onto something with the
“dark” folk. If I were their manager I would tell them to explore that area more to differentiate themselves as a band.
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