Jeffrey Foucault is the bard of small-town anywhere, his poetry rich with the details of the claustrophobic yet oddly comforting centrifuge of the “five bar street in a one church town.” His worn-in voice is like an old down jacket, frayed from field labor and gritted with sawdust from a stint in the mill.
His love is the stuff of human scale: “I need a woman like Joe Frazier/To stand inside when I’m swingin’ at the wind…I need a woman with hands like John Henry/hard enough to break the rocks down into sand.” And he’s not afraid to send a prayer from the gut of desolation: “I said hello can you help me/Do you know what I’m doing/Can you tell me where I’m bound…I’m lost and so much want to be found.”
Foucault delivers his plaintive poetry in the troubadour tradition. The title track is dedicated to Townes Van Zandt and contemplates his legacy, and Townes is mentioned again in “I’m Alright”, an evocative inventory of details in a life lived small.
The spirit of Blaze Foley is alive, as well, in Foucault’s delivery, so raw and real it fairly throbs. But Texas does not figure anywhere in Foucault’s geography. His insights are of the small, cold places in Wisconsin he calls home. Even warm washes from Mark Olson’s desert guitar only highlight Foucault’s message: Life is lived one shaft of light at a time.