Heroes Last Forever
Available from Antsy McClain & the Trailer Park Troubadours' web site.
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
The guy's been on NRP, XM, TV, and in films; Willie Nelson and Guy Clark dig his work a lot; Lindsay Buckingham and Tommy Emmanuel have dropped in for recording sessions; and you probably never heard of him. Don't worry, neither had I, but Antsy McClain is rightly acclaimed by musicians, artists, and aesthetes. Tommy Smothers even calls him "one of America's great poets". I'm not sure I'd go that far, but the guy is definitely out of the ordinary. A blend of Jimmy Buffett, James Taylor, Hoyt Axton, Roy Clark, Ray Stevens, and a TV show hipster, McClain, though he resides in a country folk vein, is not all that easily classifiable…and he certainly issues from a 50s mindset, which goes a long way to explain why he chose the legendary Sun Studios to record this disc…and with Eddie Cochran's son Bobby on a cut.
Morality and positivity invade his work like twin shafts of light, as does a generous sense of humor; after all, how many musicians will name a song Aunt Beulah's Roadkill Over Coat or ponder the probabilities of John Lennon as an Old Man? Some say Aunt Beulah's out of her God knows mind, but……well, McClain lets you know they're right, putting the kibosh on what might have been soft-soaped in more citified minds and their political correctnesses. Country grit, I calls it, while the music comports itself in a folky / jazzy / tropical chair-arm thumper with a great instrumental workout in the middle. But, a moment ago, I mentioned 'country' and I meant 'country', so there's quite a grubstake of that throughout the CD as well, especially when the gent trots out a Johnny Cash rhythm line in the wryly titled In Between the Goodbye and the Getting over You, though singing much less gruffly than the dear departed Johnny.
McClain slings him a mean harmonica too, sassy and brassy in Facebook Blues, and you might want to pay attention to The Ballad of Skip and Rover if you're a pet owner. It's a yarn of houndz gone wild in the Cool Hand Luke sense, a cautionary about them damned bipeds and their running dog tyrannies upon four-leggers now out for gawd-given freedoms. Yep, ya git a lot more 'n hollerin' 'bout divorce, barstools, 'n Johnny Walker with Heroes Last Forever. The kicker? Antsy McClain used to be an award-winning illustrator / designer. Heh! I guess thet thar Merle Jim-Bob Schopenhauer guy was right: the artistic life is theeeeeee way to go!
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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