Jedermann Remixed

Hans Theessink

Well, now, this is interesting, indeed—an 18-song cycle that serves as both a concept album and a soundtrack album, all sung and performed by Hans Theessink, a guy who plays and sings with singular grace. Theessink uses his honeyed baritone and his soulful pickin’ on guitar, banjo and mandolin to reinterpret a bunch of songs by people as diverse as Hank Williams, Tom Waits, Bo Diddley, Johnny Cash and the Rolling Stones, recasting their familiar tunes and a few of his own in service to a movie based on the Austrian version of Everyman, the English morality play. While I wait for the movie to come out on DVD, I can content myself with these artfully recast songs. If you can’t imagine any way to hear “Sympathy for the Devil” other than the way Mick did it long ago, you’re going to be surprised at how much more there was for Theessink to find in that song, especially in this context. His version of Nick Lowe’s “The Beast in Me” fits here neatly, and the whole presentation just seems inspired, with God and the devil both serving as collaborators. This could have been a pretentious flop of an album, but it avoids all the pitfalls that can so readily attend this kind of project. Hallelujah, Hans, and good on ya. This is an album for most every man. And woman, too.