Saturday, January 25, 2014

Listening to Now: Hard Working Americans - "Stomp and Holler"

By Richard K. Barry

This past week Todd Snider, a Nashville-based singer, and a handful of his associates released a great debut album full of “reinterpretations” of songs by some of the best in the business. Beside Snider, the band consists of Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools, Ryan Adams/Chris Robinson guitarist Neal Casal, Great American Taxi keyboardist Chad Staehly and Duane Trucks.

From the band’s website:
Led by Snider’s intrepid vocals and backed by a band of ace players, the Hard Working Americans created fresh song arrangements to tell fresh stories of the everyman and women – the frustrated and downtrodden, the gritty and gorgeous, the blue-collar and no-collar folks that give this country backbone.

About the songs and the approach, American Songwriters says this:
The intent is to apply a fresh spin on this material, opening up the music to the player’s own, somewhat darker, tougher vision. That’s easy to do with Drivin’ ‘n Cryin’s “Straight to Hell” which becomes a teary, meditative lament here, a change from the original’s far more boisterous, sing-along rumble. A stripped down, slide guitar driven take on of Randy Newman’s “Mr. President (Have Pity on the Working Man),” is self-explanatory and remains as relevant today as when Newman released it on his 1974 classic Good Old Boys. The Americans open up, grinding like the Stones circa Exile on Main Street for Hayes Carll’s “Stomp & Holler” and drag Kimbrough and Tommy Womack’s “I Don’t Have a Gun” through the Muscle Shoals muck.

You can get the album for $5.99 on iTunes. Seems like a good deal.

(Cross-posted at Listening to Now.)

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