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Flowers & Wounds

2014 release by Jesse Aycock

With his guitar in such high demand for other groups, it’s a wonder Jesse Aycock has time to put out any material of his own. Yet his latest album, Flowers & Wounds, finds the Tulsa singer-songwriter in inspired form, displaying a level of assured maturity in songwriting, playing and production that surpasses any of his previous output. 
‚ÄčAycock recruited guitarist Neal Casal and drummer George Sluppick of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood for the recording session (along with Eric Arndt on bass), and bringing in the big guns paid off in spades. The record is tight and polished throughout, with a foundation of restrained authority from the backing players that never hints at grandstanding or overreaching.
Though the album contains some brighter, up-tempo tracks (the impossibly catchy “Out to Space” evokes early Tom Petty), it really shines when the darkness sets in and Aycock aims his signature tenor at moments of contemplative sorrow. The minor-key blues of “Where’s the Light” to open the record and the stripped-down acoustic whisper of “Look Inside” to close it provide perfect bookends for a work that often feels rooted in heartache.
Overall it’s a strong, well-rounded effort from a musician who seems poised to continue an already upward trajectory through the ranks of the music industry. As Tulsa guitar hero Paul Benjaman quipped in advance of Aycock’s recent appearance on “Conan” with the Hard Working Americans: “Come to a local show and pay $5 to see him now, or wait and pay $45 to see him later. Your pick.”
“Flowers & Wounds” (Horton Records)—Available at select local retailers, iTunes, Amazon.com and HortonRecords.com