I was listening to this with Raenie in the library’s underground parking garage when I got a little bit embarassed all of a sudden. We were listening to a bad, 12-bar/leather pants “blues workout” replete with swinging johnson posture. That song’s a lamentable anomaly, I’ve decided.
And it’s odd, cuz Isbell cops some real “sensitive man” moves throughout this very good, very bad record. It’s released by one of them “roots” labels that’s clearly gunning for success to the tune of XM radio syndication or whatever. And accordingly, it’s got telltale dobro, brushes-on-snare, “Yeah, I wear Wranglers” pretense in terms of production. All that sonic branding confirms my suspicions that most alt-country fans are low-level cmptr workers, living in a subdivision with an adjustable rate mortgage,* mebbe in a suburb of Seattle.
What’s problematic in light of all this is that the songwriting’s good, and he’s a pretty wrenching vocalist. When I say the songwriting’s good, I mean, like, there’s pretty amazing rhyme schemes (ABBA BCAC) and slant rhymes galore. And it’s evocative and there’s even a passable anti-war song et. al.
This is my first Truckers-related purchase, and I like it despite all the cheese drippings. I came to it – like so many other things – through a vague Son Volt connection. I bet you Isbell’s live show – feat. Derry DeBorja from le Volt – is much more of a rockist affair.
Other Son Volt news: Long time badass sideman and Gob Iron Road Warrior Marc Spencer will be joining Son Volt for the coming 2008 tour (on “steel/keys”). If yr me, this is news. News of the “awesome” variety.
* by the way, i love the fact that just as raenie and i might possibly, sort of be in the kind of situation in which we might pursue an idea of pursuing a house to own, the market goes toxic.