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Audio CD, June 15, 2004
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Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Ashgrove 6:15$1.39  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Rio Grande 4:25$1.39  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Black Sky 4:48$1.39  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Nine Volt Heart 4:57$1.39  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Out Of Control 6:34$1.39  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Everett Ruess 4:51$1.39  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Sinful Daughter 4:28$1.39  Buy MP3 
listen  8. The Man In The Bed 4:35$1.39  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Black Haired Girl 5:25$1.39  Buy MP3 
listen10. Somewhere In Time 5:54$1.39  Buy MP3 

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It took a near-death experience to reunite Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin, the California brothers at the heart of "roots heroes" (Rolling Stone) The Blasters.

"Phil died and was brought back to life over in Spain," Dave says of his brother's 2012 health scare. "That was a real wakeup call to me. We hadn't made a full album together since 1985, but as you get ... Read more in Amazon's Dave Alvin Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 15, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Yep Roc Records
  • ASIN: B00028HOEA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,274 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

As a teenager Dave Alvin frequented legendary L.A. blues clubs like the Ashgrove, where he soaked up the licks and the spirit of T-Bone Walker and Big Joe Turner. Alvin's first collection of new songs in six years repays these debts with the meanest electric blues he's ever played--and some of his most vivid, and most elegantly arranged, character studies. "Out of Control" nails the seediest of L.A. night-crawlers, the autobiographical "Nine Volt Heart" reveals the wonder of growing up with soul-era radio, and "Everett Ruess," the story of a desert drifter who happily disappears forever, questions how much we'll ever understand the human heart. Song for song, Ashgrove is Alvin's best record since King of California. All the narrative poise, lyrical soul, and guitar muscle of an American music master is here. --Roy Kasten

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 26 customer reviews
One of the best recordings of the year.
Dave Alvin's "Ashgrove" is easily one of the best examples of True American Music recorded in the past decade.
Timothy P. Young
Every track is great, and the cd is perfectly sequenced.
Ryan Freedman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By John Standiford VINE VOICE on July 27, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I've been a big Dave Alvin fan for awhile and continue to think that he is one of America's best songwriters and he's an excellent live performer too.

The new Ashgrove CD contains some of his best writing but it's hard to get into a groove when listening to this CD because the song styles shift rather abruptly. This is an outgrowth of what many of us like about Dave Alvin. He is a great electric rock and roller but he is also a thoughtful acoustic songwriter. In the past, his CD's have focused on one or the other. For example, his live Continental Club CD is a rock and roll CD while Blackjack David was more of an acoustic CD.

Ashgrove tries to be both and it succeeds for the most part. In Nine Volt Heart and Everett Ruess, Alvin has written two incredible folk classics that I will never tire of hearing. The song, The Man in the Bed is another acoustic winner. In between these songs are more rocking songs like Out of Control and the title track that show off Dave's electric blues guitar prowess. It just seems that the shifts are so abrupt that it's hard to listen through it from beginning to end. I guess it's the perfect CD for the IPOD generation where you can take the songs you like and listen to them in the order in which they make sense.

In any case, Dave should be congratulated for writing more great songs, and if you get the chance, see him live. His touring band is comprised of different people than on this CD and they are great musicians for the road just as the studio team led by Greg Liesz did a great job in backing Dave for this CD.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Steve Dossey on December 4, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I just saw Dave Alvin perform many of the songs off this CD (a pitiful Santa Fe turn out). When I played the CD, it wasn't up to his live performance. Yet as I listened to it more, I grew to appreciate the textures portrayed of working class lives like the folk music of old set in the modern world. Dave Alvin plays great rock guitar and his voice holds up well as a seasoned troubador. My favorite is "Out of Control" a song filled with darkness, a 9mm pistol, an ex wife in a trailor turned to God but still willing to get it on, and "baby" performing for some chump in a cheap motel...Then there is "The Man In The Bed Isn't Me" a great song about old age and dying....You believe these songs..there is nothing phoney about them...
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By David Sandino on August 7, 2005
Format: Audio CD
In a music world gone astray with false musicians and American Idols, it is comforting to know that the real thing exists. Dave Alvin is the real thing. Mr. Alvin inhabits the exclusive group of gifted American singer-songwriter guitarists, which include the likes of Springsteen, Dylan, and Cash, who tell stories about this big country and its ordinary folks in songs the radio mostly seems to miss.

To be sure, the radio does miss Dave Alvin's material. And we are shortchanged because of it. Mr. Alvin has a deep, resonant voice mellowed by perhaps a few too many cigarettes, is a virtuoso guitarist, and has a wonderful pen for music and lyrics. Mr. Alvin generally delivers excellent CDs ("Public Domain" won a Grammy) and "Ashrgrove" is no exception.

"Ashgrove" is really two CDs in one with its ten cuts shifting back and forth in song style between blues-rock and country-folk. I like both sounds on the CD, but I find the country-folk songs particularly strong musically and lyrically.

In "Rio Grande" Mr. Alvin tells the story of the restless pursuit of a lost love, which, for those that have experienced it know, rolls endlessly like a river to the sea. "Nine Volt Heart" is wonderful song about family life built on the potency of music on the radio. Maybe this is Mr. Alvin gentle reminder that music does matter and can make a difference in the quality of life.

"The Man In The Bed" contemplates the inevitability of growing old from the view of a man whose body fails, but whose mind remains sharp. He thus becomes trapped in his body, trying to convince everyone, including himself, that the person in the bed is an imposter. In "Somewhere In Time," Mr.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By V. J Signorotti on July 23, 2004
Format: Audio CD
If Dave Alvin is not the best kept secret in the world of contemporary music, tell me who is? This fine work is simply another example of his sterling talent. His live performances are legendary and this latest offering provides a taste of his diversity and artistry. From blues rockers to moving ballads, Dave Alvin creates musical masterpieces that validates his position as one of America's finest singer-songwriters.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G. Thorn on October 5, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Ashgrove finds Dave Alvin reconnecting with his bluesy side--a side that almost always finds its way into his live performances but has been heard to a lesser degree in his previous few albums. I prefer his acoustic singer/songwriter mode, so for me Ashgrove as a whole doesn't rank among Alvin's finest work. That's not to say that there aren't very strong moments here: "Rio Grande," "Everett Ruess" and "The Man in the Bed" are all splendid. That said, the disc has more glaring weaknesses than Alvin's previous efforts. "9-Volt Heart" ventures into mawkish territory, Alvin's thug narrator in "Out of Control" fails to convince, and "Somewhere in Time" closes the disc on a somewhat leaden note. But Alvin's strengths as a performer and songwriter more than compensate, and overall Ashgrove maintains the high expectations Alvin has set with his previous efforts.
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