Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball

So I have been playing this one quite a bit since it leaked...  Down to Florida, on the drive back, around town in the car.  I was very apprehensive after 2009's Working On A Dream which I really didn't like...even a little.  I mean coming from the artist that made Born To Run, Darkness On the Edge of Town, The River, Nebraska and Tunnel of Love it just seemed kind of...Lame.  I mean I'm In Love With The Girl From the Supermarket?  Really Bruce? Really?

Then I read about Bruce experimenting.  Drum loops and other electronica.  It was like oh shit here we go again.  I also didn't think the lead single was all that great so I was a little bummed out and worried that Wrecking Ball was going to be another flop.

Well after repeated listening I can tell you that all my fears were unwarranted.  Wrecking Ball is a very, very good record.  Is it Darkness for a new generation?  No, but then that probably could never happen.  What it is is a very direct response to our troubled times by one of the great songwriters of our generation.  This is not the narrator in Darkness or the voice of The River, rather it is the voice of a generation singing about how the American Dream has become tarnished over the past decade. There is a lot of desperation on this is not Dancing In The Dark part two, in fact it is closer to Nebraska,  Ghost of Tom Joad and Devils and Dust rather than Born In The USA.

The sound of the record is not all that striking really after all of the reports of experimentation.  In fact it is often closer to the Seger Sessions in sound than it is to those other records.  Even in desperation there is a real buoyancy to the soundtrack (Death To My Hometown among others).  In particular Shackled and Drawn, Jack of All Trades and This Depression are particularly strong on what looks to be side one.  There is a constant feeling of desperation that works its way through these songs culminating in Wrecking Ball, a tune I didn't care much for on the last tour but one that now seems so much stronger in the context of the album.

The album then begins to turn a bit towards more of feeling of hope, if ever so slightly.  Yes there is a tiny little rap on Rocky Ground (the albums weakest cut in my opinion but one that is not in the least a "bad" song) but it is really pretty tame and sung by one of the other vocalists.  The album ends on an almost spiritual note with Land of Hope and Dreams (from the 1999 tour but far more affecting in this incarnation) and the closing We Are Alive.

All told this is a rock solid Springsteen record.  I can't wait to hear this on vinyl when it is released next week.   It will be interesting to see how these songs are transformed on the tour as the album is pretty much a solo record as it stands.

No question that this gets the OldRockr1 Seal Of Approval.  I only wish that the sax solo on Land Of Hope & Dreams the last we will hear from Clarence...the Big Man will be missed.

UPDATE: Still loving it and Rocky Ground is fast becoming a favorite. This one is right up there with the classics.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Shurman - Inspiration

This album is exactly why I love ReviewShine.  I saw this listed and somewhere in the back of my mind I recognized the name.  I downloaded and listened to it.  And then I listened to it again.  And again.  At a time when rock music is pretty much on the back burner I needed to hear a record like this one.  The boys from Shurman are based in Austin, Tx and that sound is somewhere in the mix.  Not a Red Dirt band but that is there a bit.  Shurman exists at the intersection of Rock, Soul and Country music.  Think the Black Crowes with a little Texas twang.  I don't know if this is the intended single, but I loved it and it kind of makes my point.

Let me tell you folks...Aaron Beavers can flat out sing and the rest of the band rocks like a mutha.  Tracks like Novocaine Heart, Hometown Judgement Day and the title track should be blasting out of open car windows all summer long.  The crime is that most people will never get a chance to hear this fine slice of Rock & Roll.  I for one plan on grabbing a copy of the vinyl here and blasting it all summer long.  I'm gonna do my part to spread the it's up to you.

Three Free Dylan Covers By Chuck Ragan

You can enjoy them now and download them later here.  These were part of American Songwriter's "30 Days of Bob Dylan".

CHUCK RAGAN "Chimes of Freedom" (Originally Performed by Bob Dylan) by Reybee

CHUCK RAGAN "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" (Originally Performed by Bob Dylan) by Reybee

CHUCK RAGAN "The Times They Are-A-Changin'" (Originally Performed by Bob Dylan) by Reybee

Monday, February 20, 2012

New Springsteen Leaked Today

So the new Springsteen album Wrecking Ball leaked today.  I have to admit some trepidation about hearing it.  I did not really like much of Working On A Dream which was tough for me as I am, and have been since I was a kid, a huge fan.  So I am listening and I have to tell you I am liking what I am hearing.  There has been a lot written about drum loops and such but it not really that pronounced to me.  Wrecking Ball, so far at least, is closer to We Shall Overcome in sound than one would expect.  I'm only half way through but I am kind of digging it on first listen.  There's even a pretty tasty guitar solo on Jack of All Trades.

Full review to follow at the end of the week after I play it a few dozen times.

Keith Moody - Dreaming Out Loud

I wasn't familiar with Keith Moody prior to hearing this album. Some of the press I read had him in the country - blues - Americana camp but I don't hear that sound all that much.  What I do hear is some fine rock & roll with a pop flair.  I mean that in a good way (lots of hooks and strong choruses) not in the bad American Idol way.  In particular I liked Long Way Up, Lay It Down Easy, One Big Ending and Red Line.  Very much worth a listen if you are a little starved for some rock music in 2012.

Monday, February 13, 2012

New Lucero

Here's a free download from the new Lucero album "Women and Work" which is out March 13th on ATO records.  This is one band that keeps getting better and better (in my opinion).  I like these guys so much I am going to the Webster Hall show on 4/20...I hate Webster Hall.  Hell, I hated it when it was the Ritz.

New Song - Sometimes

Springsteen in the boonies behind the stage was $120 bucks.  Lucero is $25.  Doesn't seem right.