Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Sunday, March 16, 2008

March Album of the Month - Lost Boy by Bleu Edmondson

As promised, here's the first in hopefully a series of album reviews from what I'm listening to lately.

Bleu Edmondson's Lost Boy is the best album I've heard so far this year, and has all the earmarks of being one of my lasting favorites for some time to come. I'd never heard of this guy before I heard his song "Finger on the Trigger" on XM-12 (which, by the way, if you don't have XM radio yet, it's worth the subscription price just to get Rogue Calls from 12-2 every workday). I immediately put the song name down on my list of stuff to download, and after giving it a couple of listens decided to pick up the whole album.

Edmundson is a writer. A real one. His songs evoke the desolate imagery of someone who's had his heart ripped out, stomped on, had mescal poured all over it, then set on fire in the desert and finally buried in a shallow grave somewhere a thousand miles from anywhere happy. But there's still a feeling of redemption in the album, like somebody who's been through the fire and come out tempered.

If you take a little of Robert Earl Keen's dust-blown Texas rhythms, mix in some of Bruce Springsteen's rock n' roll hooks, and then throw in the vibe of a good Otis story about heartache and soul-searching, you get Lost Boy.

My favorite song on the album is by far "Resurrection," because you just can't go wrong with lyrics like this -

Cheap perfume and cheaper whiskey
She winked at me when she said last call
And when the parking lot was empty
We made love in a bathroom stall
With "Jesus Is Love" written on the wall

That paints a picture as well as Darrell Scott or David Childers, but Edmondson has better rock n' roll jam than either of those boys, who also number among my favorite songwriters.

"Finger on the Trigger" is a ripping rocker of a story about a guy sitting in a parking lot just one step shy of blowing his brains out.

Cause I lost my job, my bills are getting bigger...
Crying baby, I'm bout to lose my mind
Hundred dollar habit, ain't got a penny...
Woman ran off with a friend of mine...
Can't keep a job... too fucked up...
DHS is bout to take my kids
Trying to get well, keep getting sicker...
Sitting in the parking lot, finger on the trigger.

The song takes you there, sitting on the cheap split vinyl of that poor bastard's 1978 Chevy Impala in a Huddle House parking lot in the middle of Buttfuck, Texas looking out over the flat expanse of dirt with nothing coming to you but another sunrise that promises another big pile of nothing. Edmundson's songs take you inside the heart and head of his protagonist, and let's you feel something with his songs, from the despair of "Finger on the Trigger" or "Another Morning After the Night Before" to the hope of "Resurrection."

"Another Morning After" is another track I really like, as it evokes to me the same feelings as Jason Boland's song "Proud Souls" (check him out, too). It's got a feeling like a modern-day "Sunday Morning Coming Down," and really just sounds like a hangover. I get a little bit of cottonmouth just listening to it.

It's not all horizon-gazing drinking songs, that's just where my tastes gravitate to. "American Saint" and "You call it Trouble" are old-fashioned rock songs, with catchy beats and good choruses. But for me, nothing beats the dirty grit of a bathroom fuck story or a good gut-wrenching get drunk and think about life song like "Another Morning After."

So that's what's in heavy rotation on my iPod for the month of March. Definitely one of the best albums I've picked up in the past couple of years, right up there with Reckless Kelly was Here and Cross Canadian Ragweed's Back to Tulsa: Live and Loud at Cain's Ballroom. Yeah, you should buy those, too.

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