12 Songs, 35 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

In the ‘90s Jay Berndt made his name as the vocalist for Kilgore, a Rhode Island outfit that stood out thanks to its solid command of hardcore dynamics and surprisingly intelligent lyrics. Almost a decade after Kilgore’s dissolution, Berndt embarked on an idiosyncratic solo career with Sad Bastard Songs, an accomplished album of traditionalist Americana that owed more to Willie Nelson than Faith No More. Berndt made his debt to classic outlaw country even more evident on his followup, the Waylon Jennings tribute Jay Berndt Covers Waylon for Jessica. Tackling Waylon is an intimidating prospect for any artist, and it’s a testament to Berndt’s talent and sensitivity that Sings Waylon comes off as well as it does. Berndt succeeds thanks to his formidable pipes and his wisdom in refusing to tamper with Jennings’ spare honky-tonk–ready arrangements. His grunge roots occasionally show, as when he slips into an alt-rock growl on “Lonesome, On’ry & Mean” or lets a few crashing power chords disturb the equilibrium of “Freedom to Stay.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

In the ‘90s Jay Berndt made his name as the vocalist for Kilgore, a Rhode Island outfit that stood out thanks to its solid command of hardcore dynamics and surprisingly intelligent lyrics. Almost a decade after Kilgore’s dissolution, Berndt embarked on an idiosyncratic solo career with Sad Bastard Songs, an accomplished album of traditionalist Americana that owed more to Willie Nelson than Faith No More. Berndt made his debt to classic outlaw country even more evident on his followup, the Waylon Jennings tribute Jay Berndt Covers Waylon for Jessica. Tackling Waylon is an intimidating prospect for any artist, and it’s a testament to Berndt’s talent and sensitivity that Sings Waylon comes off as well as it does. Berndt succeeds thanks to his formidable pipes and his wisdom in refusing to tamper with Jennings’ spare honky-tonk–ready arrangements. His grunge roots occasionally show, as when he slips into an alt-rock growl on “Lonesome, On’ry & Mean” or lets a few crashing power chords disturb the equilibrium of “Freedom to Stay.”

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Ratings and Reviews

4.5 out of 5
13 Ratings

13 Ratings

Darren Gowers ,

Jay Berndt - Waylon

Powerful vocals for a very personal album. Absolutely fantastic and highly recommended.

Scott Bramble ,

Heartfelt, unpretentious, technically incredible

It's easy to see jay's first love is his wife Jessica. But in at a close second is his love for music. As a covers album he has truly done it right. The songs were done right when they were first recorded, and Jason knew not to mess with a good thing. Rather than try to reinvent the songs just to make them his own... He plays them with the heart and conviction of a man genuinely playing songs he loves, to a woman he loves even more. On top of all that, between his voice and the lead guitar tracks throughout the album... I gotta think Waylon would be honored if her were here to hear this tribute. I know Jessica is.

Joe Evers ,

Track titles wrong

The track titles are incorrect... Come on. How hard is that? The record label needs to figure it out.