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Burden of Proof
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It s taken him some time, but, at 47 years old, iconic and revered Austin singer-songwriter Bob Schneider is finally, begrudgingly, hesitatingly ready to admit something: He s not a kid any more. The writing s on the wall for the man the Austin Chronicle has repeatedly called the hardest working man in Austin show business; he s getting older and his tastes are starting to change. So it s little surprise to hear, then, that when Schneider talks about Burden of Proof, his whopping 12th solo release since 1998, adult is one of two words he constantly finds himself using to describe it.
As a musician, you can act like a kid forever, he says. Look at The Rolling Stones. Those guys are almost 70 and
they re still running around like they re kids. But I think it looks silly for me to act like I m a 12-year-old. Because I m just not. So, yeah, this record has a more adult feel.
The other word Schneider repeatedly references in describing Burden of Proof? Strings. That much is immediately obvious within the first seconds of the album, which features the soaring string work of Austin s Tosca String Quartet throughout its 12 tracks, all of which are intentionally cinematic in scope. But if that much implies that Burden of Proof is a departure for Schneider, well, it should and it shouldn t.
Yet this is Schneider a man who once belted out songs with such titles as Pussy Fever and Big Butts and BJs
during his days fronting his adored Austin funk-rock outfit The Scabs. Grown-up or not, he remains a man who can t help himself. There s no ignoring the double entendre going on in Burden of Proof s Wish The Wind Would Blow Me
ballad, nor the sexual aggression behind the late-night booty call-inspired Unpromised Land, the latter of which is the most rocking cut on this release, which somehow retains Schneider s genre-hopping ways almost in spite of itself.
Turns out, the more Schneider changes, the more he stays the same.
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I would normally rate Bob a full 5 stars because his music is so great, and I really love the tracks on this album, but I just can't bring myself to do it with this album because of how it was pressed and packaged. These are flaws that should not have been missed in the QA of the vinyl production run, and as a Bob and vinyl enthusiast, I feel like I have been provided a substandard product.