Lipstick, Lies & Gasoline
Razor & Tie Entertainment
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
Thank god for John Prine. Because without him we wouldn't have Fred Eaglesmith. Not as a musician anyhow. And what a loss it would be. Years ago on a fateful day, Fred Eaglesmith saw John Prine on TV and had a revelation. He thought to himself that he could write as well as Prine. And I tell you what, he was right. After seven independent releases, this is his first nationally distributed album, and it's a must buy CD. He's been compared to the likes of Joe Ely, Guy Clark, Tom Waits and Lyle Lovett. And although these comparisons are far from wrong, they don't do justice to the unique brand of music that Eaglesmith creates on this recording.
Finally the long lost son of Bonnie and Clyde has surfaced. He got himself a leather jacket, a guitar and a bunch of dark, sparkling songs and decided to hit the road in his van. On this journey through the highs and lows of life in North America, Eaglesmith is accompanied by his incredible band The Flying Squirrels. And if they ever happen to check their rear view mirror, they might realize just how far they have left Springsteen behind.
Songs about trucks, highways, robberies, endangered love or alcoholism may not sound innovative, but Eaglesmith is a first class songsmith who is able to give new life to these seemingly worn out topics.
Just listen to Seven Shells, a song about a guy who's got an ego like the biblical Goliath, because his girlfriend makes him feel invincible:
|I'm wilder and bluer and yonderer
now that you're with me |
and there's a tin star on my chest
where my heart used to be
and even when it's high noon baby
my back's to the sun
and I've got seven shells in my six gun
105 lets you feel the thrill of fast driving, even if you have never felt it before. John Wayne would have swapped his horse for a fast car after hearing this song. It's country in the fast lane.
Then Alcohol and Pills, Eaglesmith's tribute to those people in the music world who lost their lives trying to combine fame, drugs and happiness, is that sad but perfect song which says it all. It's the final proof that a lap steel guitar can shed tears:
|Alcohol and pills |
it's a crying shame
you think they might have been happy
with the glory and the fame
but fame doesn't take away the pain
it just pays the bills
And whether you listen to the classic country duet Drinking Too Much (together with Lynn Miles), or to Water in the Fuel," a song about a trucker on his way home after he got the news that his love has left him, or to any other song on this CD, you always get served a highly energetic and sometimes rough, but still very stylish mixture of rock, country and folk.
So if you want to make yourself a Christmas present, never mind what time of the year it is, make this CD your own. Fred Eaglesmith deserves it. And you deserve it.
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Edited by Roberta B. Schwartz