Guitarist/singer/songwriter Francesco Ferorelli grew up in New York City with a teenager’s voracious appreciation of Rap and Hard Rock. But a chance encounter with a bootleg Johnny Cash hits collection gave him an appreciation for Country’s quiet power.
Still, when Ferorelli started his trio Heaven’s Jail with bassist/vocalist James Preston and drummer Ethan Schmid, Ferorelli didn’t forget any of the lessons of his youthful musical explorations. As a result, Heaven’s Jail boasts an impressive sonic spectrum on its debut album, the just-released Ace Called Zero, from ethereal quiet to squalling racket and from emotional darkness to blasts of light. As in most projects with a widely focused perspective, Heaven’s Jail succeeds by balancing itself precariously in the tension between those mood-swinging extremes.
As vocalist and songwriter, Ferorelli taps into the powerful tradition of compelling frontmen as he colors his work with shades of Warren Zevon, Matt Berninger, Chuck Prophet and Eef Barzelay. Musically, Heaven’s Jail exhibits a similar range, from the noisy feedback-doused mayhem of Crazy Horse to the gentle Folk lilt of Clem Snide to the bracing anthemics of Dave Alvin.
All of these elements are honed to a ragged edge on Ace Called Zero by Phosphorescent’s Matthew Houck; his work behind the console for Heaven’s Jail represents the first time he’s produced anyone other than his own band.
And if that’s not endorsement enough, there’s this direct quote from Houck in the press release for Ace Called Zero: “Francesco is my favorite kind of songwriter: sensitive but not sappy, smart but not precious. He has the ability to casually sneak complex imagery and metaphor into a deceptively simple package. It’s just great songwriting. Simple as that.”
HEAVEN'S JAIL WITH THE HIDERS play at MOTR Pub Friday, Oct. 3. Find tickets/more info here .