Chuck Prophet

Friday

SXSW Records

Chuck Prophet

¡Let Freedom Ring! (Yep Roc)

For a man who claims no real affinity for politics, ¡Let Freedom Ring! is Chuck Prophet's most overt political statement yet. Recorded in Mexico City during last year's swine flu scare in a studio the Bay Area-based guitarist claims was modern in 1957, the disc crackles with rare air, a jolt from society's underbelly that's holding on to hope. "We can still dream like it's Saturday night/We're holding on," he sings on melancholy waltz "You and Me Baby (Holding On)." There's a sense of misplaced patriotism in the anthemic title track and riff-heavy "American Man," which is augmented with cutesy oo-we-oo's. Such minor details along with the best lyrical observations of Prophet's lengthy nine-album career deepen ¡Let Freedom Ring! with each listen. A centerpiece is "Barely Exist," where a slowed tempo and guitar jangle amplify a Mexican immigrant's struggle. Petty and Springsteen have made similar statements, but politically minded or not, Prophet proves their equal when delivering his own pointed message. (Fri., 1am, Momo's.)

****

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