17 January 2020 (released)
13 February 2020
After giving this more than the average number of listens I have to say that this is definitely one of the best Americana albums I’ve heard in a long while. Jangling Sparrows are positively the dogs doobries.
Americana is a very broad church but this album fulfils just about all of the canons without sacrificing itself to any of them. Paul Edelman, singer, songwriter, guitarist, poet and performer who fronts the Asheville, North Carolina-based group has created a rampaging rock album with some great country and Blues touches but most of all with great stories and it is only after listening a number of times that I began to really get the quality of the tales he has written.
“The album is book-ended by two songs about struggle and understanding. In between are stories and characters that personify the American landscape and condition - the painful, the ridiculous, the confusing, the frustrating, the crazy, the strong and the insecure. it's all here, large and loud to match the big American rock and roll heart.” Says Edleman and I cannot dispute his claim.
Aided and abetted by Louis Stein (bass), Joe Grey (drums), along with producer (and recorder and engineer) Amos McGregor it was recorded at Marshall Sound Studio in Marshall, North Carolina, and mastered by Derek Brown. The sound is superb, sumptuous but loaded with dark and light shades. The pacing and subtle playing gives the songs a real sense of variation and individuality.
The title track is elegiac, pure country and sung with a strongly wistful heart and an almost Dylan-esque vocal while ‘Estuaries’ rocks like a beast and Joe Grey’s hammerblow drums are massive, driving the song along.
My personal favourite track is ‘Highway Jawn’ – real truck driving music (a la Commander Cody) and a great dance number.
Put simply, this is a cracker of an album, a worthy follow up to their last one, ‘140 Nickels’, and a standout in its own right.