The son of folklorist and photographer Fred C. Fussell, Jake Xerxes Fussell (yup, that’s really his middle name) grew up in Columbus, Georgia, but has rambled hither and yon across the South, living for a spell in Oxford, Mississippi before moving to his current home of Durham, North Carolina. Along the way, he absorbed the deep-rooted, traditional blues and folk music of the region, playing guitar alongside the likes of Georgia blueswoman Precious Bryant, Memphis’ Rev. John Wilkins, Alabama’s Albert Macon, George Mitchell and others.
Now North Carolina label Paradise of Bachelors is releasing Fussell’s self-titled debut album on Jan. 27th. Recorded in Nashville and Mississippi with players including William Tyler (Lambchop) and Chris Scruggs (BR5-49, grandson of Earl), the ten tracks are all renditions of traditional Southern folk songs Fussell adapted from recordings of Precious Bryant, the Georgia Sea Island Singers, John Lee Ziegler and others.
The influences of the rural South don’t stop at the music, however. The album’s cover art is an 1838 painting of the Chattahoochee River by Francis de LaPorte borrowed from the Columbus Museum, and Jake’s father took the inner sleeve’s photo of a traveling circus in Buena Vista, Georgia during the 1970s.