There's a good deal of America (the band, not the country) and a Dickey Betts sense—with whom they share cover artist William Matthews—not to mention a bit of Taj Mahal and Clifton Chenier, to much of Marley's Ghost's ninth disc, and that's very very welcome. Strings abound in this well populated CD and so do esteemed names: Cowboy Jack Clements (also the producer), Billy Burnette, and so on. However, of the 17 musicians present—5 band members, 12 sessioneers—not a one is less than lustrous, imbuing the mellifluously modern country disc with light and warm breezes. Listeners will also get a very strong hint of Blue Line Highway (here) for that very reason.
Poor Old Dirt Farmer is a killer folk-icana track, a General Store front porch sing-along lament of one sodbuster's tale of pain and endurance not unmixed with some roughly grim redneck humor. The saloon shuffle of Should I be Singin' the Blues? lightens up just a bit on that, sad but not terminal, as does their take on Warren Zevon's She's Too Good for Me, oscillating between joy and despair, a pensée on the enigma of being "everything she wants, nothing that she needs", a dilemma I suspect more than a few of us are familiar with.
The Eagles cum John Denver sound of Light in the Forest begins to wrap up the release while Clements' Goin' Back to Bowling Green revs back into a bit of a reel ironically reflecting a homesickness the listener suspects the narrator may never see fulfilled. But perhaps the best and most catchy cut of the disc, Don't We All Feel Like That, closes the 14-cut assemblage and asks a few questions pertinent to our troubled times. I'll let the reader field the inquiries him- or herself…and then see if they can provide answers quite as easily as they'd like.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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