If you're an aficionado of pedal steel (and, good lord, who isn't?), this is the 2010 album ya hafta have. Of course, as expected, Peter Cooper's performance is flawless, but Lloyd Green is ten shades of lyrical on a release specifically created by Cooper, the steel-fingered wizard firmly in mind. The fluid sit-down guitar maestro's acumen has always been so respected that Cooper wanted the core of each cut to be a quartet: him, Lloyd, and their twin axes. Creating compositions in such fashion allowed for a clear bell-like tone and plenty of room for Green to stretch out and play his gorgeous lines precisely the way he saw them. After that, a clutch of fine musicians and singers, including Rodney Crowell and Kim Carnes, stepped in to round things out.
Half the songs were written or co-written by Cooper and show him in fine folk/roots fettle, as good as he's ever been, forming the person of narrator and troubadour while Green paints everything around him—foregrounds, backgrounds, atmosphere. The very first song, Dumb Luck reveals the depth of Cooper's storytelling, a tale of a gent who just never had the brain capacity to cope with the too-fast world, yet survived because he "never got broke down" and experienced just enough of the titular dumb luck.
One of the best songs written in any genre—rock, bluegrass, classical, I don't care—is Kris Kristofferson's Here Comes that Rainbow Again, taken from Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. Leo Kottke delivered the drop-dead best version of it ever, bar none, but Cooper and Green invest their take with so much prairie light and lazy long-horizon enervation that you hafta kick the dust off them ol' worn urban boots and adjust the sweat band under your imaginary cowboy hat just in listening to it.
Everywhere in this CD, Green's pedal steel keens out the depths of human emotion inside canvases of lonely endless wheatfields and sepia-toned townships on the borders of civilization. The profundity of his and Cooper's knowing sketches of the Everyman is always best shown as that sweetly aching instrument draws its notes out to just beyond grasping and as the lyricist pens backporch gems like "You can't know you're pure until you stand next to sin", carrying in its compact few words far more than at first is apparent…just like the music.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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