Jason Boesel took the stage at the Bowery Ballroom not showing any nervousness. For someone who has spent his entire and somewhat lengthy musical career behind a drum kit, this was a little shocking. And he performed the entire set in what could be described as a state of quiet confidence.
But Boesel, who just released his first solo album, “Hustler’s Son,” was also all alone on a stage with four other people. The headlining band, Dawes, served as his backing band. They played sturdily, but they were hardly invested in the music. (Yes, the guitarist made extreme concentrated faces while soloing, but it seemed generic.)
This is not to say they weren’t a suitable band– they played well. But for Boesel, newly a front man on an acoustic guitar, this band was far, far away from those he’s played in before.
Rilo Kiley and Bright Eyes/ Conor Oberst/ The Mystic Valley Band were close knit bands. MVB especially. In those bands the members were not only friends, they were collaborators.
But Boesel didn’t mind, or he didn’t seem to be bothered, by the lack of musical connection. For him, it was his debut in a brand new role, with his first batch of songs.
His album fits like a snug sweater, the songs aren’t extremely memorable, but they’re clever and endearing. Each one is a tightly wound, country inflected pop song. There are no missteps or offbeats, just direct ballads, for the most part. He made his way through about 7 of them on Friday night, most memorably “Hand of God,” “Miracles” and “French Kissing.”
The Boes, as he is sometimes called, has a ways to go, but it’s very possible that he could be a front man. And as much as I wish him luck though, his drumming and role as an assistant, as the backbone in a band, is more important. As a drummer, he adds so much oomph and variety to a pop song, you won’t believe it. It’s like, always off beat, in a good way. Syncopated.
Jason Boesel: French Kissing