Bottom of the World
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Bottom of the World
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Vinyl, June 25, 2013
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Bottom of the World is Terry Allen's first studio release in over 14 years. There may be no greater maverick than Terry Allen in all of alt-country music. Allen is a standard-bearer of the Lubbock, TX, country scene. Widely heralded as the most progressive movement in all of contemporary country, digging into modern-day concerns with a gutsy, liberal perspective, while maintaining a firm musical grounding in regional country and folk traditions. Allen is perhaps the most ambitious all of the artists coming out of this scene (Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore), writing complex song cycles that have been performed with the help of fellow eclectics ranging from Lowell George to David Byrne.
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As Raw as a Townes Van Zandt album sans the poetics (but not the artistry) and
as honest as a case of syphilis, perhaps that simplicity and brutal honesty
is what is missing in the Elvis album and what makes this CD so great.
As is the case with most of my favorite artist's new releases I initially found
it "not up to his best work" (Human Remains is still my top pick for Mr. Allen)
but with repeated listening I think this is one of his better CDs, they are all
great. This collection of songs seems to waste not one word or note on affected
frivolities and even though there is wit to spare, all here seems poignant and
honest and quite tuneful if one takes the time to get on his wavelength.
Songs like; Emergency Human blood Currier, The Gift, Queenie"s Song and
Do Then Dream Of Hell In Heaven(?)seem to work on you from the inside outwards,
while others (like the title song) just are enjoyable to listen to for their quirky take on songwriting. I like most of the Lubbock songwriters--as Butch
Hancock has said--"There must be something in the water."
If you like Mr. Allen as I do for his honesty/quirkiness I suggest checking
out a young songwriter named Raymond Byron (& The White Freighter) his recent
CD Little Death Shaker may sound a bit more contemporary stylistically in places
but it exhibits the same directness and quirkiness that makes Bottom Of The World such a great CD.
If you do not require that Lubbock sound in your CD player I would suggest
listening to Damien Jurado's two most recent CDs.--Saint Bartlett and Maraqopa
as I believe he is one of the best "young" songwriters working today.
I am back with "Angels of the wind", beautiful waltz with an accordion and Sally Allen's voice. "Emergency human blood courier" will need a deeper study, is a metaphor, is deep, musically is great, with a touch of Guy Clark. "Wake of the red witch". Good song but not for me, don't like it. "The gift", a really slow number, long story, haunting steel guitar, this could be a Nick Cave song! "Sidekick anthem" and "Covenant" are good songs too.
All in all a superb record and lets face it, is not like TA is churning out one of this every year. If you are a fan you have to have it.