Joe Ely latest is again a mix of old and new, he wrote seven of the songs, Butch Hancock, his Flatlander buddy wrote two of them, and one was co-written by Billy Joe and Eddie Shaver. The familiar phrasings of Joe Ely and the exceptional quality of the songs he selects and the way they fit together on the disc that speak of his ability a producer. What this disc lacks in surprises it more than makes up for in craft and passion; he has been doing this for close enough to 34 years and he will at times tinker and experiment with what he has done so well for all these years, however on this one he sticks to the tried and true and boy does he deliver with some of his best vocals in years. Impassioned singing characterizes the record; all the songs sound as if they were crafted with his voice and persona in mind. This is a powerful disc with some exceptional musicianship, which is not unusual as Joe is joined by such luminaries as David Grissom, Lloyd Maines, Glenn Fukanaga and Joel Guzman to name but a few.
Joe Ely is one of those musicians whose music precedes the appellations Alt-Country or Americana. He has always been a fusion of the empty west Texas landscape where he came of age, the close border to Mexico, and the streaming of the huge rock and roll radio stations that beamed across the land. This is a disc that shows the maturity of a man who has been thru his younger, wilder days (think Live Chicago 1987, with Bobby Keyes and David Grissom) and the journey to now; happy he lived those days, however much more content with his life now. He has always been a musician that took from the road and now he is giving tribute to the journey he has been on. Maturity coupled with reflection add up to wisdom. No this is definitely not a disc made by a used up old rocker, but by one who has learned and still has so much more in the tank as shown by the fervent music on this disc.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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