J.Tex and the Frank Jacobs /The Volunteers is a traveling trio, made up of artist, sailors, surfers, writers, painters and farmers, taking journey to many a city and town, for there they turn musician… playing their instruments and telling their stories in song. Normally they go out on stage as a trio, but you will often see the band as a duo or quartet too. These nomads enjoy a nice whisky, coffee, smoke, conversation and improvising on their instruments while playing mostly homecrafted songs. Cooking up food for thought over the open fire. With their stylistic flexibility, swing, rhythm and rock steady roots music, they offer the listener a new musical experience. This is good old fashion entertainment but with a twist, a new take on an old thing. Its comfortable and familiar like a gin and tonic but with an extra shoot and a taller glass.
J.Tex & The Frank Jacobs
ACTIVE & RETIRED
Singer/Songwriter Jens Einer Sorensen aka J.Tex was born in Detroit, Michigan – growing up in Denmark. Playing instruments from the age of 6. Playing for a living on the roads of Europe, mainly in Italy and France in the early 90´ties. The inspiration is clearly from the great vide open, “Dustville"America, but don't get it wrong – J.Tex is truly an urban cowboy and at the age of 20 he went back to the States to search for his musical roots. J. Tex started out his journey in Nashville, Tennessee with a guitar in one hand, and a paintbrush in the other,
he traveled all over the South.
After a few months of doing odd jobs, he found himself on a long journey through the back roads of the South. He had a great companion and mentor in the fire-burning carnival painter and artist “the one legged man” John Heiner.
This trip was a lifetime experience for J.Tex – learning the trade of art, and living the wild life on the road. When traveling long hours up and down
interstate highway 75, he always found the time for writing songs when jamming with old-timers, and everyday Americans.
Albums & Reviews
2006 “Lost Between Clouds Of Tumbleweed And Space”
is an album that both contains crocked up-tempo tunes, ballads with loads of intense longing, and small glimpses of long forgotten times. The songs on the album is with few exceptions all written by J.Tex and the inspiration is a wonderful mix of his own experiences, strange stories and odd little snapshots from his travels in America. Jan. 20. 2007 J.Tex was nominated a Danish Music Award for best Country album of the year with this Album
"One of these Days"
released March 2008 in Denmark and Sweden. On this record he collaborates with female Texan vocalist Lynda Kay Parker. For the most part the record has a very country flavor to it with a bit Dylan thrown in at times (That’s what you want). “One of these Days” will remind you of Tom Waits for sure.
released Sep. 2009 in Denmark and Sweden. This Album is mainly a solo album, recorded in an old schoolhouse just outside Lund, Sweden. These twelve songs were recorded in three days, mostly self-penned, and will bring you to America within some seconds and make you feel freedom and adventure
3,5. SINGLE ALBUM
2011 is a true Christmas Single album. The A side contains ”Santa Comes `round” and is a tribute to the sweet, gentle tradition of Christmas songs from 50íes all the way to our present time. It’s meant as a tribute to a tradition of happiness, forgiveness, hope and a wish for a better world for everyone.
J. Tex & The Volunteers have released or will release a 7" vinyl single of "Santa Comes 'Round" (there seems to be some confusion over whether the single was released on November 18th or will be released on the 25th) and this sucker is golden! Just the most beautiful country flavored sunshine pop you've heard in the last 40 or 50 years. I mean, even that picture sleeve is priceless (don't ask me why this one says "Santa Comes To Town").The catch is it's not an American release. J. Tex was born in Detroit, but raised in Denmark. His record company is the Swedish Heptown label. But, hey, good news, Cats and Kittens! Amazon is carrying "Santa Comes 'Round" in ALL it's formats--7" vinyl, CD single and mp3. Phew! (Just wish I'd known that before I ordered from Heptown). Amazon will have the mp3 on November 25 (so there's still time for a "hold the presses" on your annual mixes) and the vinyl on December 13. (Just wish I'd known that before I finished my annual mixes).
“House on the hill”
is recorded late June 2012
Review from: Discussions Magazine.com
I've never been one for Americana, Alt-Country, Y'Alternative, Nu-Folk or whatever you prefer to call the genre these days. There are some amazing bands who do it right, but there's even more bands that jump on the bandwagon and switch over to Americana because they want to actually 'sell' records
And besides, if you go to Alt-Country gigs, it can be hard to tell the difference between the musicians on stage and the street people who sleep in trash bins behind the venue! That unkempt look may work if you are doing a Broadway revival of Oliver, but I don't want to pay hard earned cash just to see a couple of vagrants playing mandolins.
But J.Tex & The Volunteers are different. They come from Denmark, which isn't immediately apparent when listening to House On The Hill (which looks to be their 7th release? I have some catching up to do!). Where some bands try to duplicate the Americana sound, J.Tex and Co. seem to reach way back to the Folk, Bluegrass and Country scenes of the '30s through the '60s while avoiding anything remotely 'modern'.
If you want an easily understandable description of their sound, then this should do: Tom Waits and Bob Dylan trying to emulate the more introspective side of Johnny Cash's '50s and '60s recordings while watching a documentary on the Louisiana Hayride in the middle of a snow storm. Yeah, that sounds pretty accurate.
It may sound broody on moody on the surface, but dig deeper and you'll find a band that loves to create their own unique take on a genre of music that they may not 'know' first hand but they certainly understand!
“Old Ways vs. New Days”
If I had to pick a favorite out of the more than 80 records I’ve reviewed on this site, House on the Hill by J. Tex & and Volunteers would have to be considered for the title. I enjoyed that record tremendously, and so I was excited to learn that the band had a new record coming out. I’ve listened to the new record, Old Ways vs New Days, a bunch over the past couple of weeks.
At first, I wasn’t sure I liked this record as much as the first. But I’ve grown to really appreciate this project. I’m still not totally convinced that I can say it’s as good as that first record, but that one was a masterpiece (if you ask me) and this one stands up very well. Old Days, New Ways is not a rockabilly record, so let’s get that out of the way. But this is not a rockabilly band, so I didn’t expect that.
Instead these guys perform an endlessly interesting old-timey roots music. It’s mostly acoustic instruments, though there are electric guitars here and there too. More than the first record, this one also draws pretty heavily from jazz. There is, in fact, one live cut–”Night Train”–that can’t be called anything other than jazz. And there are jazz elements to a couple of the other tunes, including some jazz trumpet echoed by a little bit of scat vocal on “Clear Sky.”
J. Tex is the musical alter ego of Jens Einer Sørensen, who was born in Detroit, Michigan in the USA, grew up in Denmark, returned to live for a while back in the states, and eventually moved back to Copenhagen. Clearly, he soaked up Americana and roots music during his years the USA. Listening to Sørensen’s songs and vocals, you’d be very hard pressed to identify this as anything other than an American band if I hadn’t have just told you. These guys sound so incredibly authentic American that it’s spooky. This music makes me feel like they understand American roots better than I do. I’d be thrilled to be able to make music that sounds as authentic as this.
But while it sounds and feels totally authentic, it doesn’t sound familiar, as in just the same something you’ve heard before. This stuff is clever and inventive. The instrumentation and arrangements are simple and beautiful. And one word keeps coming to mind when I compare this record to the first record: this record is quirky. I mean that in a most positive sense. There are little lyrical twists throughout as well as musical oddities that work spectacularly.
For instance, clearly these guys—J. Tex, Jason Bedard, Tuelund Christiansen, Bebe Risenfors, Carl Granberg, and Svante Loden—are extremely talented and clever musicians. Yet, they left lots of sounds in this record that most bands would consider mistakes that would warrant a new take. Like buzzing guitar strings here and there caused by not fingering a chord totally cleanly. Or, my favorite, the occasional honks caused by not cleanly blowing a clarinet reed. I know for sure they could have played those parts without these little imperfections, but they add to the authenticity so well that I can’t imagine the record without them. These guys and the producers are brilliant for leaving these sounds in, that’s all there is to it!
And the song selection here is creative too. It’s not just a record of great old-timey tunes (although I would have been happy with that too). Instead, I don’t exactly even know how to describe this collection of tunes, except that quirky comes to mind again. There are a couple very cool instrumentals, silly leaning songs, songs that end unconventionally, unexpectedly, and a little uncomfortably…I don’t know…a real pleasurable mix of interesting treatments.
In the end, I’d have to say that my favorites are the more straight-ahead songs, which remind me most of the songs on the first record. Songs like the great opening cut, “This Old Banjo,” “This Old Blues,” “Ship Coming In,” and “Clear Sky” are all standouts for me.
Finally, I can’t end this review without mentioning once again the sound these guys achieve. J. Tex’s voice is custom made for this type of roots music. It sounds old and gruff. And the recording techniques they use to capture this music sound old too. But interestingly, not everything sounds old, scratchy, and muddy. Just enough of the elements to give it that feel, but yet many of the instruments are crisp and clear through the benefit of modern recording methods. Really, I don’t know how they do it, but they blend the old with the new wonderfully and it all ends up sounding just great.
I’ve really enjoyed Old Ways vs New Days. I have to admit that it took me a few listens before I really started to appreciate it, but now it’s grown to fit me very, very comfortably. I’m listening to it a lot, and I’m liking it more with each listen. If you liked House on the Hill, this record may be a little bit of cognitive dissonance to you as it was to me, but I think that, like me, as you listen, you’ll really come to realize the beauty of this project.
My recommendation: I enjoy J. Tex’s music very, very much. If you like music with an old-time feel played by really fine and inventive musicians, then you will like this record. Definitely give it a listen.
All albums are available on I-Tunes, Spotify and some on SoundCloud