Jared Weiss Shows Off His Soul and His Chops with ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS

Jared Weiss isn’t new to making music and performing, but I’m new to him. His style really took me off guard in some ways. Before reading anything of his background or his thoughts on the new album, I just simply hit play. I was immediately struck by what I was experiencing. It was like Jeff Buckley, if he were brought up on rock operas and show tunes. The music and vocals had as much in common with Hedwig and the Angry Inch as they did Simon & Garfunkel. The theatricality of Bowie and Reed was side by side with the heartfelt style of Pete Yorn. Hints of The Who and Led Zeppelin are evident, yet I could hear the same things I love about the music of Godspell. Thus, it came as no surprise when I discovered that Weiss was not only a singer-songwrtier, but a stage performer, as well.

There’s such a wonderful blend of styles and emotions in Weiss’s new album Isolated Thunderstorms that it’s hard to really capture with words. Before I try, here are some of his thoughts that I’d be remiss if I didn’t share:

… is an auto-biographical confessional, born out of a life or death need to tell the truth. I threw away the love of my life because I was too sick to care. My mind was warped. I hit rock bottom. What choices did I make to get me to this place of isolation? In order to re-examine the tragic, macabre moments of my life, I first had to embrace them. I don’t know if I understand them, but Isolated Thunderstorms is my response to my examination.

Weiss uses this album to tell stories and bear his soul. His influences and heart are on his sleeve and I’m eating up every last note. Quirky and fun, while painful and emotive, when I close my eyes I can’t help but picture Weiss on stage belting out these tracks, not unlike the Hedwig stage show – equal parts concert and musical. There’s a quality to it all that feels much like the music of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog. Weiss is the Dr. Horrible character, singing of the things he’s lost and his hopes to mend those losses. It’s truly hard not to root for him and it’s even harder not to sing along.

Fans of rock oriented musicals will love the sound and construction of the songs, while fans of artists like Pete Yorn, Jeff Buckley, and Cake will find a ton to latch onto. The list of artists that count to mind is quite lengthy… the various projects of Jack White, the rich musical storytelling of rock bands like the Kinks, the music of Andrew McMahon (Jack’s Mannequin/Something Corporate), Ben Folds and Ben Kweller, Ben Lee and Ben Vereen, really anyone named Ben for that matter.

Song by song, note by note, Weiss blends the unique talents of a traveling minstrel, a court jester, and a good friend. He shares his soul with wit in his words, pain in his heart, and an eye towards redemption. It’s truly an uplifting, unique experience and a great way to kick off this holiday weekend. Isolated Thunderstorms is an album I won’t soon forget and, if you give it a listen, you won’t either.

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