"Too alone to be alive, too disappointed to be surprised," mourns singer-songwriter Rich Kaufman, one half of the main core that makes up Philadelphia's Rolling Hayseeds on the opening track of the band's latest CD. It's a desolate, desperate comment and one that sets the stage for the rest of the album.
Which is not to say that this 10-track disc wallows in dreary self-pity or weights the listener down with a depressing moodiness. Rather Kaufman, along with fellow frontman Kevin Karg fuse their reckless sense of despair with rollicking tunes and carefully-crafted tunes. Karg's richly-toned, raucous baritone tempers his misery on tracks such as "Wide Awake" giving lines such as " I could talk and talk forever about the politics and the weather but that wouldn't make you stay, so I keep on repeating while my broken heart stops beating, I'll never see another day" a comic pathos. With a few covers thrown into the mix (Rodney Crowell's "Home Sweet Home" and Waylon Jennings' "(Just to) Satisfy You") the Rolling Hayseeds endearing sound mixes its rootsy, post-Uncle Tupelo country rock sound with a respectful nod to the classics.