Duane Jarvis

Country Soul & Rock'n'Roll from Nashville

 "Far From Perfect" Watermelon WMCD 1070

Best Underrated Guitarist: (Tie) Duane Jarvis

Now that Buddy Miller's starting to get his due, what with a richly deserved Nashville Music Award and all, Jarvis is next in line for some overdue recognition. Jarvis has backed everyone from Lucinda Williams to the Divinyls, and that gives a pretty fair assessment of his range: sympathetic coloring to balls-out sweat 'n' stomp.

(J.R.) Writers' Choices (Nashville Scene, Best of Nashville 1999)

Phil Lee, Duane Jarvis Impress At SPITTLE
Fest In N.C.

Jan 31, 2000, 12:10 pm PT

Durham County, N.C. native Phil Lee made it almost all the way back to his mom's farm Saturday (Jan. 29) night. Lee and his compadre Duane Jarvis performed back-to-back sets in Raleigh on the final night of S.P.I.T.T.L.E.Fest 2000 (that's Southern Plunge Into Trailer Trash Leisure Entertainment) at the Brewery.

Lee, who currently lives in Nashville, has just released an album titled The Mighty King of Love on Shanachie Records. His appearance in Raleigh with his band, the Sly Dogs, was
his first since his CD hit the streets in mid-January.

Backed by Danny Kurtz (bass/backing vocals), Freddie Jones (drums), and Jake Berger (guitar), Lee set the standard for the evening with a set of rowdy country honk. He delivered
several tunes from the new album, including his set-opener, "She Ran Out of Give (Before I Ran Out of Take)."

Lee's big finish gave the Pabst-chugging audience members a memorable entry for their rock and roll diaries. His moving tribute to white trash girlfriends, "Les Debris, Ils Sont Blanc," done to a polka beat, was followed by his only concession to sentimentality, "Don't Put Me in My Daddy's Jail." Lee's father was, until his retirement, the Chief Jailer of the Durham County Sheriff's Department, so the song's a family-oriented piece, in a way. Lee and his boys then pulled it all together with a full-tilt-boogie version of the first single from the new album, "A Night in the Box."

After a brief changeover interlude, Phil Lee reappeared onstage, behind the drums, and Danny Kurtz returned on bass. Both were now performing in backup to singer/songwriter/ace guitarist Duane Jarvis.

Jarvis has just started working on a new album in Nashville with producer Richard Bennett and, among others, Phil Lee. Jarvis took a couple days off from the studio to zip down to
North Carolina for his S.P.I.T.T.L.E.Fest appearance.

Jarvis' set, comprised mainly of uptempo, twang-rich tunes from his albums Combo Platter and Far from Perfect, had a distinctive Tex-Mex sound. His affinity for border music, his
Mexican wife, and time spent as guitarist for Rosie Flores and Lucinda Williams are all influences Jarvis cited as contributing factors to the groove we heard Saturday night.
In addition to songs like "Broken Air Conditioner Blues," "Far >From Perfect," and "A Girl That's Hip," Jarvis performed two new songs -- "Intoxicate Me" and "My Brush Is Dry" -- which will be on his next CD.

In a week that began with a 20-inch snowfall and ended with freezing rain, Lee and Jarvis brought some heat back to the so-called Sunbelt.

duane jarvis 
far from perfect 
[ W A T E R M E L O N ] 

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On his second solo release, "Far From Perfect," guitarist/songwriter Duane Jarvis pledges he'll be the kind of fellow a woman can count on in the song -- Mr. Dependability. "My other name is Mr. Right," he sings earnestly over a touch of twang and bubbling, blue-eyed Memphis soul. It's an appropriate oath for Jarvis to take, since roots stalwarts such as Lucinda Williams, John Prine, Dwight Yoakam and Rosie Flores have relied on him for musical support over the last decade. Jarvis may have made a name for himself adding the pure ring of glorious, understated licks to their songs, but on "Far From Perfect," he also reveals a knack for transforming his sound into songcraft. 

Co-produced by former E Street Band member Garry Tallent (who also plays bass on the record), "Far From Perfect" is such a solid slice of Americana that it almost masks Jarvis' British Invasion roots. His voice is sweetly frayed around the edges as he sings of love,
driving and bars over a laid-back soul groove, but his guitar playing stretches from roadhouse riffs into Kinks and Rolling Stones territory. Both of those bands immersed themselves in country music, producing effulgent hybrid albums during the '70s, and it was
through them that a young D.J. (as he is known to his friends) discovered country. Indeed, Jarvis' songs sound instantly familiar because his roots run in so many different directions. 

"Far From Perfect" is such a likable record, though, because it brims with D.J.'s warm, personable character. He offers glimpses of himself as a straight-up guy, the kind of guy for whom you'd buy a beer, the kind of hitchhiker you could actually pick up, as he suggests on "Vanishing Breed." At 40, Jarvis has seen enough of life to render him cynical, but his songs are ultimately optimistic and wry (especially the tremendously funny "A Girl That's Hip," co-written with former Blue Chieftan Tim Carroll, which sets his romantic search against the distinct riff from the Count Five's "Psychotic Reaction"). If Jarvis is part of a vanishing breed, it's indicative of the inhospitable times in which we live. But it's no reflection on his tremendous talent. "Far From Perfect" is like the America you drive across country hoping to find, away from the highway strip malls and bad radio stations -- where beautiful, old buildings stand proud, and music that rings true is still being made. 

SALON, April 21, 1998 

Meredith Ochs is a regular contributor to Salon. 

From Rainer Zellners Website:

Man stelle sich vor: Joe Ely, Dwight Yoakam, Mick Jagger und Keith Richards (im entsprechenden Verhältnis) im Transporter Raum der Enterprise. Durch ein molekulares Malheur mutieren sie zu Duane Jarvis, wohnhaft in Nashville. So in etwa kann man sich Duanes aktuellen Sound vorstellen. Jarvis ist jedoch von der reinen Kopie weit entfernt: Er ist ein hervorragender Songwriter und ein ausgezeichneter Gitarrist, den schon Dwight Yoakam, Buddy Miller, Rosie Flores und Lucinda Williams in ihre Bands holten. Seine Mischung aus Country-Twang und R&B Groove ist unwiderstehlich, dabei beherrscht er das Coole, das Schnoddrigge sowie die richtige Dosis Sentiment und Verlangen. Er gehört zur ersten Garde der Roots Rebllen, die den Plattenbossen im Glamour Geschäft der Hutträger in Nashville gehörig Angst einjagen und mit Fantasie und Seele die Country Music reformieren.

Seine erste CD "DJ's Front Porch" zählte der Rolling Stone 1994 zu den besten Alben des Jahres und nannte es "addictive" Seine letztes Werk "Far from Perfect", produziert von Gary Tallent (Bruce Springsteen), wurde mit Lobeshymnen gefeiert: "Zwölf Songs, kein Ausfall, alles brilliant musiziert und gesungen und mit rustikalem low budget Punch produziert..." bescheinigte das Magazin Rolling Stone. Seit seiner Tournee mit Jann Browne gastiert Duane auch immer öfter auf europäischen Bühnen. Seine relaxte, ungemein beeindruckende Live Performance im rauhen, Basic-Country-Roots-Rock-Setting hat ihm auch hierzulande schon eine Menge Fans beschert.

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