The Bail Jumpers – “Swamp Songs” Music Review

There ain’t nothin’ like the Blues… And the Bail Jumpers know a whole lot to make you want more of it!!

   For those of you not familiar with the blues, this is a genre you might even find the heaviest metal bands jamming out to when not on stage. It’s a classic cornerstone of the music genres and just about everyone I know of can get behind it. It’s one thing that goes beyond boundaries, reaching into the heart and soul of it’s listeners and pulling out the good and the bad of life. Deep resonating vocals, sad guitar, upbeat grooves, Three measures in and you’re along for the ride and never wanting to go home!

   If you know the Blues, but not The Bail Jumpers – you need to get to know them. This amazing group of musicians is made up of Dave Lenavitt (Drums), Joe Riskosky (Guitar), Jeff Claypool (Vocals, Harp), and Darin Hepler (Bass) out of Ford City, PA. Their EP, “Swamp Music”, is a perfect compilation of everything I love about the Blues, and I know you will, too.

    There’s something about the Blues, and these songs, that’s hard to put into words. You find your body puts it into movement, just like the songs on “Swamp Song” The old time blues infused with jazz of “Party Dress” with it’s emphasis on the drums, or with “Once Again” The soft and soulful groove brings a smile to your face. The open, slightly gritty vocals Of Jeff Claypool reach inside your mind and drag you out of yourself. As I listened I couldn’t help but think of an old bluesy tavern stage, surrounded by couples delighted by the sound of the harmonica. The men, taking their ladies by the hand and moving to the dance floor to sway to the music. I’m talking a different age, a different time and place where manners mattered and people joined together in music dens, where sharply dressed men tapped their polished black shoes to the time of the drummers beat.

    “Modern Problems” is… well.. more modern. Tracing Blues through the ages to an open area with a makeshift stage and groove flowing from the band, the vocals changing slightly to be a bit faster, more smooth. Upbeat, shoulder moving with sass. You can’t help but smile before that bass solo takes over and puts the funk into the song. Drum solos the way they should be for this type of music, interspersed between the song in it’s own special pocket of music. And can we get a standing ovation for that twang in the guitar solo? Not being a musician I will never know how that special sound happens but to me, that’s the magic of it.

    “I gotta know” Get’s those hips shaking and that special raise of the face towards the sky to go with the shoulders you already had moving. It’s slower and a bit more ‘hard’ than the others, really seeing where Rock got it’s roots. Lyrics of heartbreak handed over in the best way possible. A bit of a throwback feel to a not so bygone day.  

  That special spontaneity in the Blues is really present in the feeling of “Come Home”. Back to the grittier vocals, very well controlled, raising and lowering in a wild type of way that’s both soulful and practically sinful. This is where they have you completely. Body trying to tell you how to put it into words, chest pumping to some hidden beat as you shake your head and laugh out loud at how good it feels!!! This would be the destination where you will find them now, having rolled through the ages of Blues to find them here, in the Pittsburgh and surrounding areas, in places like Moondogs or Sidebar. In fact, you can find them in the modern world of Facebook right here – Visit them, find out where they’re at next, listen to the music and transport to another world where the Blues make it all better!!