Jael began playing music of his own in 1971 in Canada at the ripe old age of 14. He got some serious attention playing live on a Texas gospel radio show in 1976 and went on to play over 200 concerts a year for the next 5 years. In 1978 he released his first LP with the band Preflyte on an indie label with sales in 8 countries.
Jael is a truly international artist, born with both US and Canadian citizenship’s and living and working in several other countries as well. He has spent time in Mexico, Colombia SA, and working with a number of Latin artists from Brazil, Peru, Venezuela and Argentina.
His imprint is on over 30 albums and 1500 songs. He has had a platinum record award as recently as 2011 and at one point in time had a song charting between Billy Joel and John Lennon. He has teamed up with and released recordings with gold selling artists and been covered by over a dozen other musicians. So with credentials like that you’d expect to know and anticipate his latest release right? Have you actually even heard of Jael?
Jael has released his 2013 album, Great Expectations, consisting of ten tracks plus 3 bonus songs. Jael’s Americana sound resonates in these tracks, but the over 30-year-active artist isn’t afraid to strip down and focus his own lyric-driven sensibilities. The result is a refreshingly mature sound that is bound to win Jael new fans without alienating die-hards of his immense catalog.
Jael has worked the trail long enough to know that true messages don’t have to beat the listener over the head to get its point across, tracks like the bluesy “Don’t Give Up” and the acoustic driven “You’re Really Ok” are sobering and heartfelt. I downloaded this album two days ago and have been listening to it non-stop. Best tracks: “On Purpose,” “Giver,” “It Carries You,” and “Above The World.”
The grit and soul coupled with the addictive pop and rock sensibilities rooted in his characteristic blues and country-rock sound make almost all the songs on Great Expectations essential listening. Listen closer and the songs will slowly unfold themselves.
All you have to do is listen to the first three songs to know that this album is something special, potentially his best work ever. As Jael has aged, his music has become more searching, yet relaxed.
Love, hate, social injustice, and faith; Jael covers it all. He delivers a powerful yet simple record where the sentiments expressed are right on target. Jael is one of the few artists out there who can bring simple, meaningful lyrics and insert them with music that covers a wide spectrum of pure uncontaminated sounds. He’s put together an album that sounds true to his roots and yet it’s extremely fresh. Great song writing, great lyrics; Jael tells it like it is. Life is not always all smiles and laughter.
On this album, the overall atmosphere remains the same all along, there is no radical break in the mood, which is awesome, because a different kind of song thrown in there, would take away from the other tracks. Great Expectations is basically a series of short realistic tales about life, love, hope and faith. It is at times melancholic but overall it is a deep, warm album that will sink into the marrow of your bones. There are also bonus cuts added to increase your listening pleasure. What more could you ask from an album?