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Jerry Oliver – Zombification of a Nation (Odd)

Jerry Oliver-Zombification of a Nation
17 May 2021

Nashville-based, Minneapolis-raised singer/songwriter, guitar teacher, poet, and Odd Records label head Oliver has been in scads of bands (like Peculiar Red, Pushin’ Daisies, The Galaxy of Howling Dogs, and Spider Poets) since starting in 1976, but I first heard him on his “quirky, unpredictable” 17-song 2008 solo album, Death of the Avant Garde, which I reviewed in issue 63 (two mini-LPs, Believe and The Wood and the Spark, followed in 2015-16). Though Zombification doesn’t include last year’s seven-minute, Donald Trump-decrying single “Cloud Paper Tree,” the song’s jittery, unnerving freak-folk, swamp-blues, and psych-rock vibe continues. Throughout, Oliver flails and massages his contorted, misshapen acoustic (The New DylansJim Reilley adds bass on four), while his distressed, rasping vocals sound like he’s having a hallucinogenic acid trip. But his frazzled, anxious messages on “Soul Hole,” the title track, and “A 2020 Sort of Day” also aptly convey how many Americans feel today, as we watch our indifferent, divided country become more and more “zombified.”

Jerry Oliver/Odd Records:
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“Soul Hole”