Not long after the release of Rogue Doubt, George Stroumboulopoulos chose the album’s third track, Embers as the top track for his weekly countdown. “Write down his name,” George said. And one listen to this album will show you exactly why Strombo thinks Jerry Stamp is the bee’s knees.
Rogue Doubt is probably one of the most emotionally raw, moving albums that I’ve ever listened to, and with good reason. Jerry Stamp, who has been an absolute powerhouse on the St. John’s music scene, has psoriatic arthritis, which has led to him essentially retiring from the music scene. Rogue Doubt was written with his situation serving as the inspiration. Some of the songs clearly and directly address his auto-immune disease, and some are much less direct, but each and every song would move everything short of a concrete block to their emotional core.
The opening track and main single from the album is Firing Line. It’s a straightforward rock song that starts quietly and builds into a driving, head nodding jam, and before you know it your toes are joining the party too.
This song leads into Weight, which is just beautiful and groovy.There are so many elements to love about this song: the drums that are a JAM, the subtle piano, the impeccable harmonies, but the star of the show here is (duhhhh) Jerry. If this album is your introduction to Jerry, this is where you get to see what he can do. That man’s voice is no joke. And this song is just the warm up. YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW. So here is a version with just him and his guitar, as recorded by local videographers extrordinare, HeavyWeather
Further down the track listing is the spirit-lifting toe-tapper Marathon Man. Singing about perseverance through adversity and exhaustion, Jerry shows his support system by having a bunch of friends singing the chorus with him. Any time you need a confidence boost, just throw this song on and by the end of it you’ll be looking in the mirror saying “Hell yes you can do this. You’re a marathon man [insert preferred self-compliment here]!”
Ring Finger is Jerry straight up telling you his experience with his auto-immune disease. He is open and raw about how it feels emotionally and physically, and the pure emotion in his voice is almost unbearably beautiful and heart-wrenching. In my oh-so humble opinion, Ring Finger is Jerry Stamp at his best.
The clincher on this album is the final track: stripped down, emotionally charged, ugly-cry inducing “I Fear My Love”. Even if this song was about a girl, it would leave me sobbing in any and every environment. (Full disclosure, I’ve cried several times at work. Today. And most days. I listen to this album a lot.) But when you listen to the lyrics and hear Jerry singing about his relationship with music and performing, it will leave you reaching for the nearest fuzzy animal to cuddle just to stabilize yourself.
Really, it was hard for me to not just write a track by track summary of how wonderful this album is. But I’m not doing all the work for you. Go get this album, listen to it, and fall in love. Then when you fall in love, you’ll discover that Jerry Stamp has several albums and that you should buy them all.