- Mark Edgar Stuart
As cool weather settles in, it's a good record for autumn, a smorgasbord of musical comfort food, due to the naturalness of Stuart's songwriting. The changes flow like country water, at times like the river of soul music, all led by Stuart's trademark "What if Willie Nelson sang baritone?" twang.
It's familiar territory, yet all done with Stuart's unique stamp. The lyrics reward deeper listening, gliding over Stuart's impeccable folk picking. John Prine is the obvious reference point (and Stuart's lyrics rise to the occassion), but at times he steps up with a stinging solo on electric guitar. And his ventures into country soul territory ("Something New", "I'll Be Me") echo classic Charlie Rich. Indeed, with Gamble's tasteful work on organ and electric piano, there is a deep current of soul through the whole album. Hear it for yourself, in the video released today:
But listeners beware: the overarching theme of the album would seem to be the opposite of its title. Far from being "mad at love," our hero is determined to not give up on it. "Give me one more chance/to prove that I'm not a lush," he sings in "Stuck in a Rut." And, given the recurring themes of reconciliation and responsibility, it seems that he got that chance. "Being high ain't enough," he sings, and one comes away from this album feeling that he found something better.
Here's a track from the record, which Stuart says is "Inspired by a friend who's brother died in the Middle-East, and the attachment we seem to have to the material things loved ones leave behind. This song is about a soldier, his sister and an upright bass."