Saturday, April 29, 2006

Great Albums You've Probably Never Heard Of - Vol. 1

Not as searing and heartbreaking an album as Sonoran Hope and Madness, nor as rooted in down-home humor as Honky Tonk Union, Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers' Americano is ultimately the most accessible and most satisfying Peacemakers album so far - and that's saying something.

Listening to Americano is the aural equivalent of a long drive down a desert highway. It's music for late nights and summer afternoons. It's deeply American music; hard-worn, hard-eyed, and evoking the majesterial backdrop of the West. Shot through with strains of melody imported from south of the border, its the Great American Album that Mellencamp and Springsteen have never quite made.

One of the reasons for that is over-exposure. Springsteen and Mellencamp both enjoyed (and/or enjoy) a level of stardom that Clyne's never reached, and doesn't really seem to aspire to. He remains an everyman, and that sensibility shines through on every track of Americano. Whether he's spinning a tale of outlaws on the run from law and mortality, or asking a lover/friend to "leave an open door behind you," Clyne sings in a voice that seems both intimate and mythic.

If you're a lover of song, songwriting, sincerity, and eclecticism, pick up a copy of Clyne's Americano. It's available online, and it's worth every shiny dime.


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