“Am i wrong?” asks Jon Reed, aka Jar-e, in the song “Plot” on his new release, Blood of the Summer. The answer is no, because the Asheville singer-songwriter does everything right during this 33-minute ode to the golden era of soul. He’s backed by a tight rhythm section; bassist Dave Mack exhibits a melancholy side on “A Lover’s Heart,” a bluesy tune that pairs thumping piano with guitar and evokes the down-tempo work of Muddy Waters. Sax player Jacob Rodriguez and trumpeter Justin Ray, who both tour with Michael Bublé, add smooth melodies on songs like “So Inclined.” And Reed’s tenor voice ranges from mellow to powerful, providing a strong foundation for the album. A departure from Jar-e’s Chicas Malas (2009), his third release presents a calmer, more calculated sound, and a theme focused on many aspects of love. Lyrics describe deeply personal moments, from loving and losing to one-night stands, that are universal. And with soaring and emotional highs and lows, Blood of the Summer is good for the soul.
The CD hits stores November 2. Catch Jar-e November 6 at Lexington Avenue Brewery in Asheville. www.jar-e.com