Sunday, January 08, 2012

Album Review: Everything the Hard Way


Title:  Everything the Hard Way (BandCamp, Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby)
Artist:  John Moreland & The Dust Bowl Souls (Official, BandCamp, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Last.fm [solo], Last.fm [with The Dust Bowl Souls])

I can’t believe that I missed this when it was released in November.  John Moreland’s fourth full-length album (and first with his new band The Dust Bowl Souls) is nothing short of brilliant and would have easily made the number two position on my Top 20 Albums of 2011 had I not missed it at the time.  In fact, next to Things I Can’t Control, I’d say that this is his best record to date. 

What makes Everything the Hard Way so great?  It’s pure simplicity.  This is a straightforward, no b.s., honest to God rock ‘n’ roll record.  The songs are extremely catchy, the lyrics are deep, and the playing is full of passion and soul.  This is the kind of record that could (and should) appeal to an extremely wide range of people (fans of everything from alt country to punk to alternative rock to classic rock can easily find something to love here).  With bands like The Gaslight Anthem poised to become huge stars in 2012, there is no reason why John Moreland shouldn’t enjoy some of that same success. 

One of the great things about John Moreland, is that there is always new music right around the corner just waiting to be heard.  This man is on the verge of becoming Robert Pollard prolific (Moreland released two full-length albums and two EPs in 2011) but unlike the Guided By Voices front-man, Moreland’s music is consistently great. 

Great for fans of Drag the River, The Gaslight Anthem, and Tom Petty (among others); or pretty much for anyone who love top notch rock ‘n’ roll music.  

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