Jesse Tabish, the frontman and creative lynchpin of Oklahoma’s Other Lives steps out on his own with Cowboy Ballads Part 1. This glorious solo debut is as epic as it is intimate, the ten songs and four instrumentals distinguished by the same sweeping, cinematic arrangements and haunting, wistful melodies that typify the band’s catalogue, but with a rawer edge that reflects this record’s home-made origins.
As Other Lives’ fourth album For Their Love was released in March 2020 just as the pandemic began to hijack world events, Tabish and his wife Kim – the newest member of Other Lives – found themselves at home, unable to even collaborate with the rest of the band; so Cowboy Ballads Part 1 was born. With Kim increasingly involved – “she played, sung, produced, and she’s really developed as a songwriter,” says Jesse – the couple found increasing inspiration and liberation through the limitations of their set-up.
Scaling back had already been Jesse’s modus operandi since eschewing the computers and electronics that shaped Other Lives’ third album Rituals, for writing on guitar and piano again, “to be more physical and primal with the music,” says Jesse. Cowboy Ballads Part 1 doubles down on that sense of immediacy. His seemingly intuitive ability to convey the huge skies and endless horizons of Oklahoma’s prairie vistas were arguably fired up even more when, after living in Oregon for ten years, Jesse and Kim moved back to his home state in the summer of 2021, at which point Cowboy Ballads Part 1 truly gelled. Enjoy the tune!