Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Review: Caleb Klauder - Dangerous Me's and Poisonous You's

Label: Padre Records (available through CDBaby.com)

Released: March 1, 2007

Caleb Klauder's band Foghorn Stringband is instantly contagious. Its authentic bluegrass instantly wraps you in its warm, genuine strings and heartfelt twang. Klauder's Dangerous Me's and Poisonous You's, on the other hand, takes some time to sink in, not because it isn't as good, but because it has more dimension and depth.

The album mixes old-time string band music with 50s rockabilly and the result has the rootsiness of the former and the energy and pop sense of the latter. Klauder's songs remain largely upbeat while maintaining a certain sadness and his voice has an imperfect beauty whose dissonance evokes a sense of country desperation. Lyrically, the songs speak to people in common themes that we all understand, but avoids silly truisms. Klauder mixes in hints of gospel, mixing the spiritual and the secular in a way that brings out both the joy and sadness in country music's heart.

The cover art is really the best clue to what is contained within. It depicts a man and woman dancing, wrapped up in ecstatic joy. But he's holding a gun and she a snake. Dangerous Mes and Poisonous Yous is a celebration of life yet a rejection of worldliness. It is the struggle between love of life and that sense that we must remain detached from its pleasures. It is the celebration of real lives, both good and bad. And it's a really good Americana record to boot.

Satriani: 6/10
Zappa: 6/10
Dylan: 8/10
Aretha: 9/10
Overall: 8/10



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