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Jack Grelle

Got Dressed Up to Be Let Down – 2016 (Big Muddy)

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

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CDs by Jack Grelle

While the country music fan demographic is largely comprised of states that traditionally poll red, it may seem there is little room for radical progressivism in the genre. St. Louis native Jack Greele puts that myth to rest on "Dressed Up To Be Let Down." Within this 10-track amalgam of country, Tejano, rock, and Cajun, he addresses the plight of the black community in America as seen through the eyes of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., turns a breakup song into a female empowerment anthem and calls for action to support minority voices.

Though the musical stylings are varied and on paper may seem incompatible, they feel more interwoven than deliberately layered on top of one another. The pleasing opener "Heart's Like Mine" has a dominant Cajun feel, but bounces along with an underlying country vibe.

Traditional instrumentation is abundant. Pedal steel is heard on virtually every track and the electric guitar riffs feature Chet Atkins' distinctive chicken pickin' twang. He tosses in the harmonica and fiddle for good measure.

The honky tonk stomping title track is a clever female empowerment twist on a potentially lazy cliché about being stood up for a date. In this version, the man disappears from the story while the lady dumps her infatuation for him entirely.

The album is heavy on social themes, but there are a few distractions, including a South American romance and a sweet ode to his deceased grandmother on "Birthday Cards."