The challenge for most newcomers, country or otherwise, is to craft an identity with their debut album. To build a unique sound right off the bat, to stand out from the pack. With his self-titled debut project, Oklahoma native Jared Deck has accomplished just that, with sonic tendencies that seamlessly blend the edge of rock with the tenderness of country, matched with a powerhouse voice and strong songwriting to make for an undoubtedly satisfying package.
From the very beginning, this is an album that establishes itself as something fresh. The opener, “17 Miles,” soars in its roaring guitar licks and refreshing piano inclusion. It’s a strong effort that finds Deck fully in command vocally, and one that sets the tone for the rest of the project. While his rocking side is certainly one that highlights a number of tracks, namely “The American Dream,” and does so with a good amount of effectiveness, Deck hardly gets pigeonholed as a one-trick pony.
The album’s diversity is undoubtedly its most valuable asset. It crafts a distinct, country-rock identity while also finding a way to incorporate a number of different sounds into one cohesive album. So while the rockers mentioned above certainly fill their role effectively, the softer moments help create an additional layer of quality to the project. “Wrong Side of the Night” gets by on little more than an acoustic guitar, allowing Deck’s strong, raspy vocals to shine. “Unusually Blessed,” the strongest moment of the collection, is hard-hitting in its songwriting and emotive in its production and performance, while “Grace” thrives on groovy guitars and a powerhouse performance (specifically throughout the chorus).
Jared Deck is an album without a distinct weak point, while boasting many tracks that beg for repeated listens. There isn’t any one song on the project that will leave you wanting your three minutes back, nor do any two tracks sound the same. What Deck has accomplished with his debut record is no small feat, and one that many established artists still haven’t been able to quite figure out: how to create a cohesive group of recordings while maintaining a strong and distinguishable musical profile. This is an album that feels fresh, original, and leaves you wanting to know just what else Deck is capable of accomplishing. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and check this album out. In doing so, you’ll be introducing yourself to one of the most dynamic, talented and versatile newcomers in the genre.
Top Tracks: “Unusually Blessed,” “Wrong Side of the Night”