The New York City songwriter’s album has officially dropped today, December 10th. The exciting project follows a pair of well-received singles over the last few months in “Ten White Horses” and “Red Moon”.
Growing up in NYC and currently based in Hudson, New York, Mashburn’s primary influences included his local punk scene, mid-century blues musicians like Muddy Waters, and the rockabilly sounds of artists like Elvis Presley. His new album builds and expands upon these formational sounds, seeking to carve out a space in the shared ground between folk, blues, rock, and country music.
Mashburn was able to bring this project to life with the help of producer, slide guitarist, and synthesizer Jannek Zechner, drummer and multi-instrumentalist Clemens Grassmann, pianist Dylan DeFeo, and bassist Carlo DeBiaggio, who were essential in helping him capture the unique sound of the album he’d envisioned.
Jaws of Oblivion is largely composed of songs written in the midst of the pandemic, though not necessarily inspired by it. Drawing on artists such as Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, Roy Harper, and Johnny Cash among others, Mashburn delivers a grizzly country-rock project that offers sonic depth in both lyrics and instrumentation.
Mashburn’s debut single, “Ten White Horses,” is an ode to shipping out of his hometown. His acoustic guitar snarls, his soulfully smoky vocals drive the mix, and the percussion gives the tune an irresistible magnetic force. The occasional drone of a fuzzed-out electric guitar and a killer slide guitar solo towards the end of the track give it a definite edge.
His second and newest single, “Red Moon,” was written in the winter of 2020 during the pandemic, and explores themes of alienation, isolation, and depression- in other words, some of the most prevalent feelings felt throughout that time. About the song, Mashburn notes, “The lyrics are essentially a series of images that evoke a bleak and disturbing frame of mind, something I think lots of us were experiencing around then.”
The song’s sound delicately reflects the frigid and somber atmosphere in which it was written. With its stripped down arrangement and intimate production, the track feels ghostly and haunting. His raspy, gravelly voice and precise fingerpicking reveal his vulnerability and emotional depth as a songwriter.
Classic sounds of country and blues guitar are perfectly complemented by the soft yet gravely vocals of Mashburn, giving much of the album an outlaw feel. At the same time that it’s a reflection on our collective past as humans, it’s also a plea to acknowledge the reality of our current environmental crises.
The state of the environment, and man’s relationship with that are the predominant themes of the album, with Mashburn stating, “The disconnect between modern society and the rest of the biotic world–all of the other flora and fauna on this planet–is at the core of this album…”
From the opening titular track, “Jaws of Oblivion” to the ninth and final track, “Wings of the Dawn,” Mashburn delivers his debut opus with a fierce authenticity, and stakes his claim in the indie folk and alt-country world.
With the release of Jaws of Oblivion, Mashburn delivers a unique and heartfelt experience that has potential to resonate with a wide audience. You’ll definitely want to keep your ears perked for new music from him in the future.