Side One Dummy
Chuck Ragan delivers his fourth studio album this week and it is arguably his best release to date, surpassing even his debut release Feast or Famine. It’ interesting to think that the aforementioned record came out roughly 7 years ago, an era in time where a front person of a punk band putting out a folk record wasn’t so commonplace. Now it seems like every front person you can think of is putting one out and for the most part they kind of blow. There are a few that stand out of course but without a doubt Chuck Ragan has always been at the top of the proverbial mountain; when it comes down to it the man just can’t be touched.
This time around Chuck ups the ante by finally having a full band backing him which makes all the difference, especially the pedal steel. I’ve always appreciated the stripped down stuff he’s done but at this point I think it’s just the natural evolution for the solo project to move beyond just a guitar and the occasional appearance from the likes of Jon Gaunt. Not to mention that even the older songs sound significantly better with a full band. After seeing the group play a one off show in LA a few months back I kind of wanted to hear some of my favorite jams from previous records re-recorded.
As far as lyrics go Chuck always delivers. Maybe it’s something to do with fishing that just unlocks the hidden potential for being an amazing lyricist? Perhaps it’s the beard, or it could even just be an innate ability that comes with being a carpenter. Who will ever really know what allows him to write such amazing songs. My alternate theory is that Chuck Ragan is a jedi which would explain a lot of things actually.
It’s a Chuck Ragan album. Just buy the damn thing already. We both know it’s good. We also know what will happen if you don’t pick it up…You’ll end up like the deer.