Michael Hall

Record review

Texas Platters

Michael Hall

The Song He Was Listening to When He Died (Freedom)

When speaking of underappreciated singer-songwriters in Austin, Michael Hall is near the top of the list. It might be his offbeat way of telling stories, his decidedly bent sense of humor, or the dryness of his vocal delivery. The Song He Was Listening to When He Died, his eighth since disbanding the Wild Seeds, isn't likely to change anyone's opinion of the local rock veteran, even though it's unmistakably different from anything in his past. Produced by Jud Newcomb and George Reiff, who also play guitar and bass respectively, it melds analog drum machines to pure pop melodies while injecting vibes, trumpet, piano, and various percussion and studio tricks in unexpected places. The result is an album full of dichotomies, with the acoustic sweetness of "Out Where the Highways Roll" offset by the jagged edges of "Captain, Captain" and the shimmering hook of "Summer" in contrast to the pure absurdity of "America" (not the country, the group). While the overall change isn't subtle, the playful undercurrent to Hall's songs remains, and it's heartening to hear he's willing to experiment, letting his muse take his music wherever it might lead.

***

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Jane Ellen Bryant
Let Me Be Lost (Record Review)

Rachel Rascoe, Oct. 26, 2018

Texas Platters
Jaimee Harris
Red Rescue (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, Oct. 26, 2018

More by Jim Caligiuri
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Her father's death and daughter's birth upped the stakes of the singer's finest work

April 14, 2017

SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
Soft Boys, Youngbloods, Moby Grape, Brian Jones’ grandson, etc.

March 18, 2017

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle