It would be entirely proper to point out there isn’t a real toe-tapper to be found, and you’d be hard-pressed to hum the tune to any of these dozen songs mere minutes after hearing them. But none of those things are what makes Greg Brown’s music so riveting and mind-sticking.
The quality is in the honest and real delivery of lines that sound as if they were wrenched from his soul rather than rolled out of the end of a pen. In “Cold & Dark & Wet,” he writes: “Tell me what is a fella supposed to do/When a car costs more than a house used to/And a house is a pile of chipboard, paint and debt/I’m at the city limits, and it’s cold and dark and wet.”
Brown rough and deep-end-of-the-pool vocals aren’t for everyone, but his messages of simpler and better times gone past are more universal than one might think on a cursory trip through this disc. The Iowa native never strays far from his country and rural roots and those who love him for it will also find similar affection for this new album.