Widow’s Work is the new album by Heaven’s Jail. The entire album focuses on the topics of death and grief — how one causes the other and how they intertwine. More specifically, the songs explore how death impacts a person over the course of his entire life.
What’s especially impressive about the album is its resonance with listeners, which comes almost effortlessly from the band. The lyrics, combined with the music, connect listeners to the subjects of the songs. By listening, you’re more than an outside observer, you are along for the ride.
Heaven’s Jail is based in Brooklyn and comprises four men: James Preston (bass), Francesco (guitarist), Scott Stapleton (synth/keys), and Justin Hoffman (drums). They all work together in ways that would otherwise suggest years, perhaps decades, of collaboration. Widow’s Work is a tremendous step forward for the group.
Heaven’s Jail Explores Historic Connections
“Cleopatra” is an interesting song because it takes historical figures and makes them personal to our lives.
It almost makes you want to connect your own story to theirs, which is impossible because their stories are already written in history and relatively impossible to compare to your own. The song begins a theme that continues throughout the album: historical figures become our friends and our lovers from whom we can learn and grow.
“Warbirds,” to elaborate on the point I mentioned above, features couples that were partners in both love and violence. The best example is Romeo and Juliet, who are known the world over. Their love ends in tragedy and causes strife for everyone during their short lives. The guitar in this song is powerful, and again, brings listeners in on the journey. This is the power of the Heaven’s Jail’s music.
Heaven’s Jail understands their potential and has already made strides in achieving lyrical and musical synergy.
To incorporate history into music is a skill that suggests sophistication not normally assumed of young rock bands. The band members bring what they know from their life experiences into their music and do so unassumingly, which is not a small feat.
Other critics have compared the skills of Heaven’s Jail to Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and Bob Dylan, which I don’t think is too far-fetched. Widow’s Work is intense and worth listening to. You may find yourself coming back to it in a few decades.
If you were able to attend their album release show at Union Pool in Brooklyn earlier this month, let us know what you thought!