Does the world really need another blue collar Americana blues troubadour with that good ol’ boy grit telling the tales of modern times?
Yes it does.
It will always need the songs and stories from those who stood to bear witness.
Some of those tales are best told straight down the barrel of the hard truth. That’s the sound and the fury of Jesse Ahern.
Jesse Ahern started off in subways and Open Mic Nights, but found his true calling playing the Boston barrooms and beyond as the Singer/Songwriter for The Ramblin Souls.
Growing up in the late 1980s/early 90s he, like many in his generation, tuned into to punk rock and hip-hop.
“If bands like The Clash and Public Enemy initially seem like polar opposites, their common ground was of course in their unvarnished honesty and passion,” Ahern said. It wasn't long before Ahern dove headlong into the wide pantheon of American music.
By 2002, Ahern was playing with The Ramblin' Souls, a well-founded foursome who ventured out in their hometown of Quincy first, and eventually brought their style of Rock-n-Roll to the Boston-Cambridge-Somerville circuit, before hitting the road for out-of-state gigs.
In that Ramblin' Souls lineup, Ahern traded lead vocals with bassist Kevin Fitz, as drummer Scott Cunningham and guitarist Brad Bryan provided fiery backup.
After their first invigorating performances on the scene, the Souls stepped back to deal with internal problems. Ahern's cousin, George Camia, replaced Fitz on bass in 2007. The group worked into 2009, adding keyboardist David Mendoza along the way.
By 2009, The Ramblin' Souls had burned down to the embers and the coals.
Ahern kept his musical ambitions alive by arranging and promoting package shows, where he and some cohorts--playing as "Jesse Ahern and His Roots Rock Rebel Revue"-- performed as part of a multi-band bill, teaming up with other roots-oriented acts from the scene.
But then a funny thing happened, as funny things tend to do, and the Ramblin' Souls had an adrenalin shot of a second life. A friend in the entertainment world passed a few of their tunes to the right people and the handoff lead to a jumpstart.
Early in 2010, Ahern was notified that HBO's "True Blood" series wanted to use the Ramblin' Souls song "Late Nite Horizon" for an episode. Ahern quickly re-formed the Souls for a series of shows. The Ramblin' Souls are playing selected shows throughout each year.
Ahern took some time away from music after that burst of attention for the Ramblin' Souls in 2010.
Quincy surf-rock songwriter Dana Martinson, coaxed him into doing some guest shots on Martinson's 2011 album "Laughing and Crying," and Ahern began seeing the potential for his music all over again.
He released “Tales From the Middle Class” in 2015, a half-hour’s worth of rugged reality.
“The Evil Way” is the song you want playing when you hit the open highway and have a big thing of coffee at dawn. His hillbilly hymnal rendition of The Clash’s “Bankrobber” is clever and soulful, and “The Highway of Life” tells the tale of a man trying his best.
His newest release, “Searching For Liberty,” scales the heights of hardships and hard-headed determination in the arm wrestling match against doubt and defeat. Win, lose or draw, we all have to keep on searching for liberty. Why not sing along?
- Nate Homan