Jeff Klein

Everybody Loves a Winner (One Little Indian)

ACL Fest Record Reviews

Jeff Klein

Everybody Loves a Winner (One Little Indian) With his debut, 2000's You'll Never Get to Heaven if You Break My Heart, Jeff Klein turned heads here in Austin. Since then, he's developed a following in the UK, and has shared stages with like-minded songwriters Alejandro Escovedo, Richard Buckner, Will Sexton, and Eliza Gilkyson. Everybody Loves a Winner picks up where he left off with more songs that he can scream or mumble, yet hit you in the gut with the same resounding thud. There's a bit more color here, some of it provided by the pretty vocals of his ex-landlord, Patty Griffin, the rest enabled by producer Matthew Ryan, a kindred spirit and acclaimed singer-songwriter in his own right. Ryan encouraged Klein to experiment with the sounds in his head, and he's come up with more than his share of cracked moments. For example, the disc opens with the desolate "Everything Is Alright," a tune whose lullaby backing is a loop created on a Radio Shack mini keyboard. Elsewhere, Klein shows exactly what he's capable of with songs like the arrogant "Another Breakdown" and "Take the Wheel," which he describes as a story about "emotionally drunk driving." Listening to the naked spirit Klein exposes in his songs, one might think he's constantly close to suicide, but he's ultimately the winner mentioned in the album title, only now everybody may start to love him. (Saturday, 1:45pm, BMI stage)

*** 

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