This is an unusual CD. It hybridizes several genres—not just the phylums themselves, but mutations based upon each. A thick and smoky flavor of mid-West country rock is unavoidable but clichés are skirted in favor of an alternating entrée of the heavy and airy. With Angus, one finally sees what was hoped for in such second-string ensembles as Orleans and The Michael Stanley Band; that is to say, a mellower reincarnation of the Bob Seger ethos, a rock shuffle laid out with grit and the taste of rain on the wind, forwarding the simple intelligence of the wheatfields into a more progressive form.
Maybe features an amazing display of guitar playing by his compadre, Larry Campbell—not flash and speed but an exceedingly well-chosen and engagingly composed long quotation of thoughtfully abstract colorations. Jesus at Your Door drops in a delightful set of souled-out backing vox, occurring repeatedly throughout the disc. Though the title seems to indicate a Christer paean, the tune's actually more in the Jesus is Just Alright vein, spiritual rather than dogmatic. Abraham follows in the same twist, a swinging penseé upon the fact that one just might not need avatars and gurus, nay not even prophets, to make one's way in this world. Elsewhere, political schisms are discussed (Red or Blue and I've Got You), but How Can That Be? probably best exemplifies Angus' raison d'etre and constitutes as perfect a cross between folk and country as any have yet achieved, tremendously aided by Campbell's haunting pedal steel atmospheres.
Angus has a gentle voice, a questing spirit, and a genuinely crosscut acculturation that takes the plains to the city in the form of a mirror melding the onlooker's visage with his sod-busting brother's. He's worked with Government Mule's Warren Haynes, the Band's Levon Helm, Rodney Crowell, and even Buddy Miles, so the guy's not exactly a newcomer, with polish and fertile rhythms evidencing that in no small way. Like Orlean's John Hall, he recently took a run at a Congressional seat, but, failing it, the fact that he's ready for his first musical solo act, after previous ensemble work, is inarguable, politics or no. Unlike John Hall, though, Angus has far more to fall back on.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Website design by David N. Pyles