Honey and Salt (Populuxe)
by Craig Regala
Like the wonderful roots-gush of The Jayhawks and new contenders, Phonograph, this Americana fun factory makes you pine for when the Bryds went to England, John Doe was yearning for the “Fourth of July,” and Wilco realized it’s completely honorable to get drunk and dance like a fool to the soulful pop-rock of Thin Lizzy’s,”Running Back to You.” His ‘n’ her vocals, chops galore from folks who’ve done a thousand and one club dates. Pro all the way in the best way; marshalling your talents to meet your artistic goals, i.e. write songs that’ll last. They swing through all sortsa “pop” from power-pop, country-soul-gush, good ol’ melodic radio fare, and folk pop. The tradition of “roots” is now broad enough to absorb all the stuff that “Americana” (country, blues, sailing songs, European folk, W.I.S.E. Iles folk, African music) was formed from. The hokey aging new waver in me wishes they’d cover Timbuk 3’s “I Gotta Wear Shades,” even as they write a tune ripping off both the Stones “Honky Tonk Woman,” and some Badfinger tune I can’t recall the name of.
Joy is a fragile emotion, and more valuable for it. I tapped some outta this. Yeah, in my world, I play it back to back with Radiohead and John Mellencamp and feel great, OK ? Throw’m on the box with Golden Smog, Lucinda Williams, Cross Canadian Ragweed, and The Derailers, Tom Petty, and John Doe.