If Bob Dylan had been secure enough with his mastery of blues, and been able to sing, and stuck to strict meter and rhythm ... well, it wouldn't have made Dylan better, but it's a niche he identified, and there's plenty of room within it ... a little less now that Peter Karp's taking up space there.
Folksy, foot tapping, infectiously singalongable, flirtatious with the roots trend of recent years but still sophisticated in delivery.
There are places in every song that could have been made easier ... some syllable counts that aren't exactly making life easy for players or listeners, but if any act's up to that nagging challenge, this is the one. Changing the words would be changing stories that are very well written, so one hesitates to suggest it.
The rock part, as opposed to blues, is in the music's leading to real crescendos. The rock part that comes from the blues is in the subject matter ... cars, women, craving for change and the open road, lifelong obsession with music and love.
Guest artists include Dennis Gruenling, a perpetual cutting edge harpman, and Popa Chubby, recognized by this critic (better late than never) as a player/listener of impeccable taste and a man with no time for less than the best and most fiery tunes available.
This is an eminently likable record. It will suit rockers, folkies and C & W fans while not turning off blues lovers. Every instrumental part is well conceived, and the drumming holds it together in a way we haven't heard since The Band broke up.
Run, don't walk to get this one.One cautionary note about this one -- It will make you annoy your neighbors with the volume at which it will quickly convince you to play it.