Since the release of his debut album, “Miles from the Lightning” in 2001, Jeffrey Foucault has established himself as one of the most distinct voices in American music. This weekend, his haunting, country-and-blues-infused folk rock comes to the SecondSpace theater at the Elgin Community College Arts Center.
Described by the New York Times as “a young man with an old soul,” Foucault brings a lot of his Midwestern upbringing to his music, creating music that plumbs the deeper, darker areas of American music forms like country, folk and blues.
A native of Wisconsin, Foucault’s latest album is called “Horse Latitudes,” and centers on themes relating to the end of youth. Recorded in just three days in Los Angeles, the album combines rock, folk and country sensibilities.
Foucault’s background is one that could very easily produce a singer/songwriter of his stripe. Growing up in a small Wisconsin town with musical parents, Foucault left college early to take odd jobs including working on a fruit farm, driving a snowplow and even home-schooling the son of a bar owner in exchange for beer.
All the while, Foucault wrote songs and started recording in the winter of 2000. Since the debut of “Miles From the Lightning” in 2001, Foucault also released “Redbird” with Peter Mulvey and Kris Delmhorst in 2003, “Stripping Cane” in 2004, “Ghost Repeater” in 2006, the John Prine tribute album “Shoot the Moon Right Between the Eyes” in 2009, “Seven Curses” with Mark Erelli in 2010, and two collaborations with the band Cold Satellite, 2010’s “Cold Satellite” and 2013’s “Cavalcade.”
The New Yorker describes Foucault as a performer who “sings stark, literate songs that are as wide open as the landscape of his native Midwest.” Throughout his career, Foucault has performed with artists such as Rosanne Cash, Chris Smither, Todd Snider and Greg Brown.
On “Horse Latitudes,” he was joined by drummer Billy Conway of Morphine, Jennifer Condos on bass and keyboardist Van Dyne Parks, who has performed with Brian Wilson. Conway joins Foucault on stage for the Elgin show.
Opening for Foucault in Elgin will be singer/songwriter Caitlin Canty, who has collaborated with Focault in the past. Foucault performed on Canty’s upcoming album, “Reckless Skyline,” and also produced it.
Also heavily influenced by American folk traditions, Canty brings her own spin to the form with an alt-country flavor, which can be found prominently on her sophomore album, “Golden Hour,” which was released in 2012.