Two years ago, Jason Kutchma played the role of Bruce Springsteen in a wowing tribute to one of The Boss’s most enduring works, 1982’s Nebraska. That night, the frontman of Durham's barroom punk act Red Collar displayed a new side of himself, leading a brooding ensemble through devastating folk updates. He was brilliant, digging deep into the crises of the down-and-out with his reliably worn croon.
The same brilliance shines through in “There's a Light On,” the first release from his upcoming album with ace backing band the Five Fifths, which features members of Rat Jackson, Maple Stave and Aminal. The song builds from a gospel-like chant of the title, but piano eventually dances with weeping pedal steel as the rest of the backers chug along. They power this journey song with graceful energy. The narrative finds Kutchma’s character soldiering down the road, escaping a life that never felt right. “Like a lonely house on the hill,” he intones. “Given to me from some dusty will/ Mine by decree, but I knew to be/ It was mine, but it wasn’t me.”
No release date has been set for Kutchma’s entire album, but with a single this beautiful, it's certainly something to anticipate.