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New Music Review: Artist: Jake Down & The Midwest Mess

Jake Downs and Ghost ShipWest Michigan singer-songwriter Jake Down (aka Jacob Pauwels) and his band Midwest Mess have a new acoustic-based four-song collection – “Ghost Ship.”
It’s a follow up to their release of last year, “Shipwreck.”
In fact, one of the new songs is a thematic carry-over from the earlier project. “Shipwreck Pt. 3: Ghost Ship” is an occasionally haunting reminder that in a world of confusion, storms and tattered sails, “what should have sunk…spirit gives life.”

The CD’s opening “Debt” uses a banjo-fueled rhythm and melody to get to its point that the ultimate debt in life was paid with blood on the cross.
There are some nice harmonies in the song that echo the nature of the supreme sacrifice that was made as a gift.
Down turns up his vocal range on several of the selections. Arrangements include harmonica and strings.
“Autumnal Equinox” references Michigan’s fall season, where falling leaves and breaking hearts somehow lead to new life. The uptempo song has a nice percussion offering in the bridge.

Also included is “Seed Sown” which expands the metaphor of a growing plant, producing shade in the summer and yielding fruit.
The strength and imagery in Down’s lyrics is evident. And it’s wondrous to think the artist didn’t even pick up a guitar until five years ago. He has put his words to music in interesting ways.
The CD is available on iTunes and Spotify, and you can get a 7inch vinyl copy at http://preorder.jakedown.com

Just The Facts:
Artist: Jake Down & The Midwest Mess
Title: “Ghost Ship”
Connect: www.jakedown.com
Author Information
Terry DeBoer
Writer: West Michigan Christian News August 2011 – Present (1 year 6 months) Monthly publication and web site with news, features, and information of interest to the West Michigan Christian community Feature writer: Muskegon Chronicle April 1996 – Present (16 years 10 months) Writer: Kalamazoo Gazette July 1991 – Present (21 years 7 months) beat includes convering contemporary Christian and Gospel music feature writer Grand Rapids Press May 1988 – Present (24 years 9 months)

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