I can’t really talk about this album without comparing it to the band’s previous album Nothing to Lose. There are many, many similarities between the two albums, and yet they are two distinct and separate entities. You couldn’t take any of the songs from one album and put them on the other without it feeling slightly out of place, for example. You could probably combine the two albums into one super-long, mega-album but, again, none of the songs would mingle. And the Nothing to Lose songs would all have to come before the Jameson Lake songs, or none of it would make sense.

Jameson Lake is, in all ways, a fitting sequel to the previous album.

Nothing to Lose was an album about wrestling demons. A young man’s demons. Jameson Lake is a more mature album (not musically, both albums are equally phenomenal in that regard, but thematically) and the demons have likewise gotten older. Rather than wrestling them, Jameson Lake invites them over for dinner every so often, and their kids all play on the same hockey team. There is a comfortable sort of angst at play here.

The new album has a lot of the same bluegrassy-ness of the first, but it’s tempered with a more country-western feel. Where Nothing to Lose struts, Jameson Lake saunters – as if it knows where it’s going, and feels no need to hurry. It’s a sipping album to the flaming shot glass of Nothing to Lose – and it is to be savored.

If I have any complaints about the newest offering, it’s that Melanie Hilmi has been relegated to a more backup-vocal-centric role. I love Matty like a brother, but every time I hear Mel sing I feel like I should be tied to the mast for my own safety. The two of them harmonizing is one of the best things in contemporary music.

You can grab the album on a “pay what you like” basis at Bandcamp. If you know me, you know my views on what you should pay – what you can, up to what’s reasonable.

If you like music you’ll like this album.