Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Reviews:: Greg Graffin - Cold as the Clay

Wow, today is a great to to out myself. I'm probably 10 years older than most bloggers and I actually was around for bands like Quicksand and Bad Religion. People like Walter, and Dr. Greg Graffin have been making amazing music for years, so when I heard Greg was doing a solo acoustic record and he grabbed the Weakerthans and Jolie Holland to help him out, my interest peaked.

Greg approached this record as a tribute to American rock n' roll, which shouldn't be surprising considering some of the other artists that grace the Anti label (Tom Waits, Billy Bragg). As always, Greg says it better than I ever could:
“We set out create a record that would honor the legacy of American music, and it is my hope that we were able to capture a lasting musical moment. I wanted to show how my work with Bad Religion was informed by other, seemingly disparate and unconventional genres of music that at first glance may appear to have nothing to do with punk. My hope is that this project will live to pass along the tradition of American songwriting to others long after I am buried and cold as the clay.”
Much like the Foundation release (from Rob Uddleston from Ann Beretta - who has new songs on the way as well) from 2001, this record is a complete change of pace from Greg's work with BR. Hearing the strum of an acoustic, the finger plucking of a banjo, and a harmonica is not something I'm used to, but it quickly settles in on the opening track, don't be afraid to run.

The album has the feel of a folk singer traveling on the rails or the high seas; simple songs that are taught to other travelers over beers or a warm fire or sitting tucked in the corner playing in a dark, dirty pub. These songs don't grab you with the immediate power of a classic BR track, but that doesn't mean the tracks lack emotion, inspiration or the sing-along aspects (just listen to the california cotton fields and try not to sing along with the chorus) that made Greg famous.

The title track, cold as the clay uses a beautiful pedal steel and Greg's rasp voice is paired with Jolie's in a foot stomping country jam and stands out as one of the best songs on a very enjoyable album. She makes another appearance on my other favorite track on the album, talk about suffering, a song about faith and pain.

One thing for certain, a lot of people will either love this or hate this for the same reason: because it's from the guy who sings for Bad Religion. Hopefully the rest of the people who listen will see past that, and let this record speak for itself.

MP3:: don't be afraid to run

Posted at 11:43 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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