ELKTON — In his new album “Wabi Sabi” — titled after a Japanese idea of embracing the aesthetic of things that are imperfect and impermanent — Tennessee musician Jesse Black sees the beauty in imperfection.
As part of his tour along the East Coast and some western states, Black will be performing in Cecil County at 7 p.m. Friday, June 28, at Minihane’s Irish Pub and Restaurant on Elkton’s Main Street.
Black explained that he first heard of the “wabi-sabi” term while listening to the Joe Rogan Podcast, and the idea resonated with him so much that he decided to name his album after it.
“If you’ve got an old pair of blue jeans that’s really shabby looking and they just feel right and they’re your favorite pair of jeans, but they’re not like a new pair of jeans so they’re not ‘perfect,’ it’s that kind of aesthetically pleasing thing,” he explained.
That mix of sounds that some might call “perfect” and “imperfect” can be found in Black’s music.
“Since the album has electronic drums on it, which are perfect, and guitar on it, which has human error, it’s the same concept of the perfection and imperfection,” he said.
Currently, Black lives in Franklin, Tenn., but he’s originally from Chattanooga, a city which he said supplied him with a wide range of musical styles.
“I listened to a lot of country growing up, but I don’t really sound that country other than my accent in my music now,” he said. “It was an interesting mix of hearing all the stuff that was popular all across the United States like rock music, hip-hop music, stuff like that, but also being able to listen to all the old school country and bluegrass stuff too.”
Having parents with two different musical tastes also helped inform Black’s diverse musical background.
Black’s dad gravitated to ’70s and ’80s rock music from Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Eagles, as well as later hair metal stuff from bands like Poison.
His mom, on the other hand, contributed the country music from Johnny Cash, the Carter Family, Hank Williams Jr. and Sr., as well as other influences like Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis.
But Black said what drew him into music was Guns n’ Roses.
“My mom had a CD of ‘Appetite for Destruction’ and I used to wear it out,” he said.
Black started taking guitar lessons when he was 10 years old. When he was 14 years old, he started playing more seriously and he’s kept going ever since.
Today, Black takes inspiration from an eclectic mixture of musicians, but those influences have all come together to give Black his own cohesive and unique sound.
“I guess I just took all the influences that I listen to as an adult now and just kind of took the best of everything,” he said. “I took the blues rock sound that I grew up on, and some of the country influence, some of the psychedelic rock like Pink Floyd and then also some of the modern R&B influence like SZA and Daniel Caesar and people like that now.”
In his songs, Black said he usually sings about “whatever I’m going through at the time.”
“I heard somebody say one time that ‘It doesn’t matter if it’s something dumb. Just write what you’re going through because chances are somebody else somewhere is going through the same thing,’” he said.
Although he has is own idea of what each of his songs is about, Black wants audiences to take away the message they needed to hear.
“I hope they take away whatever they need to from it, because I feel like sometimes I listen to a song and think it’s a deep song about this topic. And then I look up what it actually means and it has nothing to do with that, but it was still special to me,” he said. “So whatever people interpret from it, they can use it to benefit from, connect with, anything like that. That’s what I’m hoping for.”
People can stay up to date with Black’s music and upcoming tour dates at https://www.jesseblackmusic.com/ and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Soundcloud.