Rock/pop Clubs by Night
Rock/Pop Club Directory
Rock/Pop Bands in Town
Jazz Clubs by Night
Jazz Club Directory
Jazz Bands in Town
For its first 10 seconds, Jon Langford’s second solo album sounds like . . . a Radiohead CD. "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" starts with a skittery, mechanized-sounding snare followed by chiming, æthereal harmonics punctuated by a crackling rhythm. But then the thwang of a dobro is heard and you realize that the indefatigable Mekon/Waco Brother/Pine Valley Cosmonaut hasn’t, in fact, shirked his role as the foreign-born savior of American roots music.
The rest of Lofty Deeds finds the Chicago-dwelling Welshman making good on his promise of "thrills and chills from Maine to Mexico" as he puts his own spin on musical idioms from across the Lower 48. "Last Fair Deal" turns out to be a rumbling, Dust Bowl ballad, its vague menace sharpened with bursts of corrosive guitar. Nodding jauntily to the bayou, "Constanz" — with its careering Cajun squeezebox, rollicking rockabilly riffs, and talk of rampaging zombies — sounds like a holdover from the Mekons’ mid-’80s heyday. "Hard Times," powered by Johnny Cash–flushed rhythmic chug and skedaddlin’ flat-picking, is a zestful manifesto. The title track is a rueful saga of a country star’s rise and fall (think Ziggy Stardust in a ten-gallon hat). Langford’s weather-beaten, sepia-toned cover painting of skeletal and blindfolded Nashville session men sums up his feelings about the moribund state of the genre’s more mainstream manifestations; "Nashville Radio (Fast Version)" is a jaunty poke at the sickening slickening of same. "I gave my life to country music/I took my pills and lost/Now they don’t play my songs on the radio/It’s like I never was," he sings, calling to mind Music City’s shameful shunning of legends like the aforementioned Man in Black.
BY MIKE MILIARD
Issue Date: July 23 - 29, 2004
Back to the Music table of contents
|© 2000 - 2013 Phoenix Media Communications Group|