Graham Parker

Your Country (Bloodshot)

SXSW Records

Graham Parker

Your Country (Bloodshot) Roots rock has always been a defining element to the music of Graham Parker. The UK's mid-Seventies pub-rock scene consisted of bar bands that played rock & roll, country rock, and blues, and Parker's backing band at the time, the Rumour, consisted of bar vets from bands Brinsley Schwarz and Ducks Deluxe. Your Country, then, Parker's Bloodshot debut, isn't a stretch, it just features more steel guitar than any of his past work. Although Parker has continued to record and perform, he's slipped off the radar of most folks, and while this disc is sure to gain him a lot more visibility, only a couple of its songs measure up to his best. "Things I've Never Said" is an honest-to-God barroom weeper, while "Queen of Compromise" is scruffy rock that wouldn't have been out of place on Squeezing Out Sparks, and "Almost Thanksgiving Day" is fiery and anthemic. Unfortunately a duet with Lucinda Williams, "Cruel Lips," is rote and undistinguished. Those who bet they'd never hear a Grateful Dead song on a Bloodshot disc lose, as Parker covers "Sugaree" with a sneer big enough to have Jerry Garcia spinning in his grave. Parker then re-imagines his own "Crawling From the Wreckage" with disastrous results, the song's melody lost while being shoehorned into a "country" format. Your Country is a mixed bag, one GP fans might take a shine to, but others will find lacking. (Saturday, March 20, 11pm @ Antone's)

**.5

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