Holy Christ, what a great album this is! With 27 albums and 9 compilations under their belt, you could say the New Riders of the Purple Sage have been pretty damn successful, and this latest release, 17 Pine Avenue, does nothing to tarnish that record—in fact pretty much epitomizes what the ensemble has always been about—being a very impressive disc that can still boast the presence of founding members David Nelson and Buddy Cage along with the same three cats who made 2009's Where I Come From a success. More, Robert Hunter is rock solid with the band and wrote or co-wrote over half the cuts here. From the outset, Prisoner of Freedom, Pine Avenue is a groove-filled, rollicking, rocking, boot-scooting, solid set of Americana roots music that'll have you up out of the armchair and onto the nearest rug, cutting a high-stepping floor waltz to beat the band.
In fact, as someone who has NRPS's entire early catalogue, Pine Avenue is every inch as good as the best of that period, a time still fondly recalled by many. Nelson's and Michael Falzarano's guitar licks are dead nuts on the money, dusty as a familiar trail and golden as the sun just setting into a reddening horizon, while Cage's pedal steel is supernaturally liquid. When he takes his solos, as in Suite at the Mission, a killer layback, you can almost walk through wheatfields and byways, hound dog baying in the distance, quail scurrying in the underbrush. Not a cut here is less than superb, and if there's any justice in the music world, releases like this will serve to re-invigorate the fading cowpunk movement 'cause this one's going to stun listeners in their tracks.
Yep, if the Baby Boom generation is fated to have to go the way of all flesh, then they're sure as hell going to go out with style on more than one front…and it'll surely be a while before the Reaper swings that scythe. He'll be too damn busy gittin' down with everyone else the moment this disc comes pouring out of the speakers. Throwing back that hood and sashaying around the barroom, Ol' Dan Scratch'll be hootin' 'n hollerin' like there was no tomorrow. Someone pass the gaunt bastard a doob, slip a leetle Jack Black in his Pepsi, and make sure the jukebox is cued to a non-stop repeat of this CD; we just might see a surcease wherein the underworld's grateful dead sigh and sit back, a kingfish or two wing into the rafters, and a gaggle of lost planet airmen mosey on through the back door to sit, grin, and reminisce about the good ol' days.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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