Darren Jessee "Central Bridge"
Darren Jessee is a familiar presence to alternative music fans thanks to his long tenure as the drummer / backing vocalist in Ben Folds Five. (He also co-wrote that group’s biggest hit “Brick.”) Outside of that outfit, he’s logged time touring with Sharon Van Etten and Hiss Golden Messenger, as well as fronting the indie rock ensemble Hotel Lights. But perhaps Jessee’s most affecting work has been the three albums he has released over the past five years under his own name. On these recordings, he scales everything back to the purest pop essentials, with strings, acoustic guitar, and a smart application of vintage keyboards serving to put further emphasis on his languid vocals and plainspoken, yet elegiac lyrics. Jessee’s latest full-length Central Bridge is his best yet. A hushed understated affair recorded primarily in the artist’s North Carolina home, the album revels in the small details of life—a crumpled pack of cigarettes found in an old jacket, a pile of wet swimwear on the floor—that somehow leave a lasting impression on a person or stir up deep seated memories.