For over thirty years, music scribe Jim Testa has been a staple of the tri-state scene. His zine turned site, Jersey Beat, has given initial shine to plenty of emerging artists in its time while spotlighting more combustible entities before anybody cared about how many Facebook likes your band had to be considered for coverage.
So what happens when the journalist tries his hand at the art he’s been examining for decades? And what of the younger NJ-born scribe tasked with evaluating it?
Last month, Testa released the American Spirits & Artisanal Cheese EP which he recorded with his, and our, friends at Mama Coco’s Funky Kitchen. Across the six trakcs, the songwriter injects his NYC street smarts and wry wit into the styles of noted infuences like John Prine, Tom Lehrer, and Jean Shepherd.
Brooklyn poseurs, Religion and Chris Christie are among only some of the targets Testa has in his lyrical crosshairs, with a big heart at the center of protecting or preserving everything Testa holds dear; New Jersey, the Punks of St. Mark’s Place, progressive politics and equality rights.
Producer and engineer Oliver Ignatius’ deft touch is felt throughout the EP. He helps to mould Testa’s tunes with into sharp yet playful structures that are wonderfully evocative of the iconic and evolving pavements of the artist’s beloved home city.
Be sure to stream Jim Testa’s American Spirits & Artisanal Cheese below and visit his Bandcamp for more.