Jude Moses – The Beauty

To the disdain of one of my friends, Jude Moses is not a person. Or, at least it’s not a birth name. The mystifying, Charlotte-based folk project consists of principle songwriting Stephen Williams and collaborators Jesse Proctor, Shae Wooten, and Kevin Smith. But arguably, none of these names carry quite the same weight as two biblical figures conjoined – one more obscure, one known almost universally. And there’s a certain earthiness and simplicity to the name, one that conjures images of Amish farms and tent revivals.

In short, that’s what you can expect from the band’s latest EP, The Beauty. Admittedly, it’s not so rugged or Appalachian as other artists. It’s a gentler, indie approach. It’s more pretty than gritty. The visual is less of working the ground and more peering from the top of a mountain. Jude Moses encapsulate a spirit of adventure that still feels confidently anchored at home.

This is not a band driven by the concept of “content”. It’s been seven years since the last proper release, and even here, there are only six songs running 27 minutes. These aren’t bombastic singles with accompanying TikTok dances. It’s a simple offering that neither feels half-hearted nor overly-curated. It’s not some sort of legendary reunion. It’s more like the band had songs on the backburner they forgot about for a bit. That’s not a commentary on the quality but more generally the mood and the band’s approach to breaking the silence.

The EP feels mostly like a subtle nudge – “Hey, we’re still here. We still care.” The tracks are largely dreamy, with hints of 60s influence and a bit of chamber arrangement thrown in.

In terms of stand-out tracks, “So Far From Home” is a seven-minute piece that simmers more than it roars. “The Multicolored Beast” is a groovy track with a unique edge when put aside its compatriots. “I want to see the beauty,” Williams notes. The steel drums (or steel-drum-sounding-thing) and keys are definitely a major highlight.

At the end of the day, The Beauty is a fair EP. It’s a bit artsy and maybe slower than many contemporary folk releases, but Jude Moses provide a unique blend of indie rock, 60s, and chamber pop in a sort of pastoral way. There’s innocence, thoughtfulness, and simplicity here to be admired in a world where there’s a drive to “sell” yourself as an artist. And sometimes authenticity is more in what you haven’t said or done.

Check out Jude Moses on Facebook and Instagram.

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