Thomm Jutz is more than simply an able singer, songwriter, musician, and producer. As Peter Cooper explains in his excellent liner notes that accompany Jutz’s new album on Mountain Home Music , To Live in Two Worlds Volume 2, he’s a knowing individual who taps into the people, places and perspectives that shape the world around him, sharing both the triumphs and tragedies that unexpectedly intrude into our daily lives. So too, he captures the tones and textures that help shape those situations, and conveys them though sounds that remain authentic and unpretentious, all the while remaining relevant to modern realities.
A German expatriate, Jutz has made his name as one of Nashville’s most vital musicians and producers, and this current effort, a natural follow-up to last year’s album of practically the same name — To Live in Two Worlds Volume 1 — conveys stories of heroism, heartbreak and happenstance, while keeping those earnest and engaging intents intact. Whether touching on a disaster that struck Nashville a decade ago (The Flood of 2010), the strife that accompanies the fight for equal justice (Throw the Stone), the fire that nearly destroyed Notre Dame (Pieta), the uneasy aftermath of the Civil War (Emancipation Blues), or tales of fellow travelers (New River Gorge, Evening Prayer Blues Revisited), Jutz conveys a careful, critical appraisal of shared circumstance with an even gaze, a thoughtful perspective and deep circumspect.
He avoids taking a judgmental stance, but instead simply describes a situation as it is, sharing it through calm and companionate reflection. With Tammy Rogers and Julie Lee helping on backing vocals, Rogers, Tim Stafford, and Sierra Hull contributing to the songwriting, and the instrumental assists from bassist Mark Fain, mandolin player Mike Compton, Justin Moses on banjo, dobro and backing vocals, and Rogers playing fiddle, the music fully taps into tradition with a fastidious but agreeable approach. The songs ring with a steadfast resilience and an ageless embrace that testifies to the acumen and endurance of true southern sprit.
Jutz is, as always, astute and accomplished, and it’s clear that his soul and spirit are firmly embedded in these songs and the stories they tell. It’s all about the authenticity, and Jutz makes it clear that even in the duality of Two Worlds, that never allows for a double standard.