Jack Sledge, a New Orleans-based singer songwriter from Brooklyn, New York, is ready to free your soul. A Gulf Coast rock & roller, his sound draws heavily from roots music giants such as Chuck Berry, Bruce Springsteen, and The Band. His upcoming release, Notes of a Drifter, considers escapism with euphonic recklessness. On Notes of a Drifter, Jack Sledge brandishes his wild energy and lush vocals to dizzying effect. His most recent release since 2018’s Hardly Ruined, Notes of a Drifter flaunts Sledge’s soaring lyricism, gritty storytelling, honeyed vocals, and devilish guitar playing. The four song EP leverages the cultural dissonance of Sledge’s childhood spent in 90s Brooklyn with Oklahoman parents to produce a distinctly American sound. On pop-suffused Americana and rock tracks, Sledge’s voice swings from a tender, crooning falsetto to a spirited, forceful growl. He plays guitar with diabolical drive and hard-up abandon. With some tinkling piano and redemptive organ, Notes of a Drifter brings mellifluous dexterity to the haggard yowl and yip of desperation. He weaves together the bravado of hip-hop, the swagger of rock & roll, the saccharine joy of 60s girl groups, and the trance-like jangle of folk music to share the stories of Americans seeking escape. Whether they be a drifter navigating a bewitching western odyssey, an ex-con facing his murderous past, or urban millennials suffering malaise, Sledge’s characters and narrators ultimately ask listeners what constitutes freedom. Freedom from place, past, and, very often, self.
Written in the midst of a move from New York City back to New Orleans, Sledge channelled his own treacherous escape- driving a 15-foot Uhaul with a hitched Jeep Cherokee cross country- into this wild release.
Sledge left New York after four years with jazz-influenced, psych-pop trio Museyroom, whose first single, “Ballad,” premiered on Spin in 2016. After releasing Pearly Whites and Sleight of Hand on Grind Select, Sledge made his way back to New Orleans and back to his ancestral folk roots.In New Orleans, he returned to his youthful obsession with The Beatles and The Stanley Brother to release Alabama Snow in 2017. A collection of dreamy, acoustic pop songs, Sledge leaned into the bittersweet, liminal space of 60s pop and indie folk on this debut solo EP. Named for the image of a white crepe myrtle shedding its petals, Alabama Snow is an ode to love, hope, and youth’s summer.
In 2018, Sledge released Hardly Ruined, a genre-blending exploration of survival and fate. Hardly Ruined was Sledge’s first solo release with a full band. He shed the honeyed dream-pop sound of Alabama Snow and gripped onto his narrative-heavy songwriting. True to his folk and pop influences, Sledge maintained his signature bright harmonies, but fortified the EP with distorted guitar and lap-steel. Hardly Ruined hangs somewhere between self-examination and outright entertainment.
On Notes of a Drifter, Jack Sledge dovetails American mythology and contemporary disquiet. His most recent release, the four song EP follows an ex-con, a transient, and urban millennials as they navigate the cost, method, and consequences of abandoning the rat race, their pasts, and, ultimately, themselves.