Our Song of the Day comes from Durham, North Carolina singer and guitarist Jake Xerxes Fussell. Furniture Man is taken from his second full-length album, What in the Natural World, an album that explores the traditional songs from the American South, due out on 31st March via Paradise of Bachelors.
“I learned “Furniture Man” from hearing the 1930 recording by Lil’ McClintock, who apparently was a street singer from South Carolina. I’ve been playing the song for years now, but I’ve always changed up the arrangement in little ways to keep it going. Some of the guitar playing I’m doing on this recording is based on some little treble riffs I learned in Mexico — nothing too advanced but they help the narrative roll along. Long before I’d heard McClintock’s recording I was already partially familiar with the story because I knew a version of “Cocaine Blues” that this guy Doug Booth from Dothan, Alabama, used to sing which included a verse about the furniture man and how he was “a devil without any horns.” I always loved that imagery. There are a lot of variants of the “furniture man” character out there in different folksongs. Country preachers even recorded sermons about the furniture man. The furniture man, the rent man, whatever you want to call him. The guy who’s always there to collect a debt of some kind, whether you really owe him or not. Devil without any horns. It was a big topic for a while there, and in many ways, it still is.”
Recorded by Jason Meagher (Steve Gunn, Michael Chapman) in Orange Co., New York, and by Nick Petersen (Mt. Moriah) in Orange Co., North Carolina, What in the Natural World features contributions from three notable Nathans—Bowles (Steve Gunn), Salsburg (Joan Shelley, Alan Lomax Archive), and Golub (Mountain Goats)—as well as Joan Shelley and Casey Toll (Mt. Moriah).
He’ll be heading to Europe for a tour with Daniel Bachman in April/May this year.
Order Where in the Natural World here: www.paradiseofbachelors.com/pob-31