NONSENSE & HEARTACHE
Songs About The People and Rustic Small Towns that Litter Middle America
I’m not sure where to start here; as until last week I’d never heard of Jerry Leger but his UK PR pushed a little bit and finally mentioned the ‘magic words’ Michael Timmins and the Cowboy Junkies…..on whose label this Double Album is released.
If he’s good enough for the Cowboy Junkies he’s certainly good enough for RMHQ!
As you know I place high stead on a strong opening track and Jerry delivers a virtual Musical Time Bomb with Coat On The Rack……which sounds like he’s been listening to a lot of Nashville Skyline and Exile on Main Street; such is the way he delivers the words over a tight as a duck’s bum Indie band with a searing guitar .
Right up my street, methinks.
Halfway through album #1 I couldn’t wait to listen to it all on the car stereo……especially Baby’s Got a Rare Gun, The Big Smoke Blues and Forged Cheque which all need to be played LOUD…..as Leger channels his inner Rockabilly with an Insurgent Country aftershock……great songs and a mighty fine band in equal measures it has to be said.
Not everything is quite as fast and furious with the heart-shredding Wedding Dress sounding like the song Ryan Adams has been waiting 10 years to write; and On The Fishing Line is a mean and moody Rock & Roll ballad that needs the lights turned down low and the sex-o-meter set to stun; and don’t get me started on that Johnny Winteresque geetar kidda!
Then there is She’s The Best Writer You’ve Never Heard Of which could be the title track on any future RMHQ Soundtrack album……Leger’s voice purrs and quivers like a teenager on a hot date as the guitar smokes and sizzles as the bass and drummer sound like a Steel Mill on Friday afternoon.
Hence; this song becomes our ‘favourite track’ on Album one.
It’s a deliberate play from Jerry Leger to make the second album more ‘Rootsy’ and even sentimental, with the pedal-steel replacing the electric guitar as a lead instrument and it works jolly well.
First song in Things Are Changing Around Here and I found myself thinking this could be a 21st Century Flying Burritos and later songs like Take The Ashes and Run, Buckskin Wall and Another Dead Radio Star seem to confirm that; as the harmonies and back beat sound like Jerry and friends have spent as much time listening to their Dad’s Country Rock collection as they did their own snarling Rock records.
While I thought NONESENSE was perfect for car journey’s the same argument prevails when you listen to Lucy and Billy The Kid, Take The Ashes and Run and It Don’t Make The Wrong Go Away; just this album is for cruising around on a warm and sunny day.
Boy can Jerry Leger write a heartbreaker; try listening to He’s The Lonely One Now and not get a tear in the corner of your eyes…….think Gram at his saddest and you will understand where I’m coming from.
But there is one song here that stands out from the rest; and one that defines everything that I love in songs about rustic small towns that litter the back-roads of Middle America and only come to life in songs like this……Pawn Shop Piano is one such song; and one that will stick in my mind for a long time to come.
So, there you have it two quite different albums full of interesting and sophisticated songs and stories by the same singer-songwriter and band that show how clever and professional they all are; and at only 35 minutes each; it’s really just a great LP with a fast side and a slower side but on CD.
Released March 2nd 2018