Here Comes The New Folk Underground by David Baerwald
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Following his move from Los Angeles to Austin, Texas (and to the alternative country Lost Highway label), acerbic singer-songwriter David Baerwald's third solo album sounds like a fresh start. It's been nine years since his previous release, but Baerwald's songwriting is as intelligent, edgy, and conceptually ambitious as ever. From the country harmonies and back-porch picking of "Why" through the brassy buoyancy of "Nothing's Gonna Bring Me Down," Baerwald tempers his smart-aleck tendencies with greater melodic warmth and lyrical clarity. Both "If (a Boy Whore in a Man's Jail)" and the unlisted bonus track "Little Fat Cowboy" evoke the influence of Randy Newman
, while the lacerating "Love #29" and the funky underpinnings of "Bozo Weirdo Wacko Creep" suggest that the album's title is a tongue-in-cheek band name rather than a musical mission statement. Though Baerwald remains best known for his audacious debut as half of David & David on 1986's Boomtown
and as a catalyst for Sheryl Crow's Tuesday Night Music Club
, he's never made music that is richer or more consistently satisfying than this. --Don McLeese