Baerwald Reviewed

Baerwald Reviewed

David Baerwald

Here Comes the New Folk Underground (Lost Highway) Baerwald, of David & David fame, has apparently made himself welcome here in the bust-town; the Austin version of his New Folk Underground that includes local luminaries like Redd Volkaert, Mark Addison, Hunt Sales, Bukka Allen, and Charlie and Will Sexton, spreads his gospel with moody yet rocking aplomb. Together, they plumb the pipes of pain and pleasure, in a territory that's like the good bits of Jackson Browne (smooth mood) and John Mellencamp (the ability to sing "sha la la" and still rock) boiled up together with the lighter side of Tom Waits hiding in the corner. Take, for instance, the gamely chugging locomotion of the "traditional, stolen" and W. Sexton co-written "Hellbound Train" ("Out of the distance there rose a yell, 'Ha ha,' said the devil, 'We're nearing Hell'"), and the Randy Newman-style little big band of "If (a Boy Whore in a Man's Jail)" ("And if I ever thought about why I do all the crazy things I do, well I might not ever do them anymore"). Add the self-effacing grandeur of "Bozo Weirdo Wacko Creep" ("call me bozo weirdo wacko or creep, just call me"), along with occasional bits of Springsteen thunder, and you've got the gist of New Folk Underground. It's the Old Rock Underground, only a little darker, a little deeper, and with no shortage of despair tempered by the occasional wink of redemption. Definitely still more boom than bust.

***

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