Thursday, December 3, 2009
CD of the Day, 12/3/09: Ike Reilly-Hard Luck Stories
Ike Reilly is back. The Illinois singer/songwriter/rocker is a personal favorite, ever since his 2004 masterpiece Sparkle in the Finish made its way to the top of my list that year. Reilly is one of our best poets, coming at things from his hard-drinking, hard-living, Irish-American perspective; he's the musical equivalent of Tommy Gavin.
Reilly isn't a power popper per se, but power pop is part of his palette, along with Americana and classic rock. And Hard Luck Stories is his catchiest disc since Sparkle in the Finish. After the bluesy, funky "Morning Glory", "7 Come 11" finds Reilly in his rocking and storytelling element, and "Girls in the Backroom" tells the story of an Iraq War vet in a Willie Nile-styled rocker.
Elsewhere, "Good Work (If You Can Get It)" is a mesmerizing half-rapped, half-sung number with a singalong chorus; "The Reformed Church of the Assault Rifle Band" is a good-timey Exile-era Stones-type number; and "Sheet Metal Moon" splits the difference between power pop and Springsteen. Reilly also employs a couple of name artists: Shooter Jennings joins him on "The War on the Terror and the Drugs", which sounds like it would be political but is more a drunken singalong about women, and Cracker/Camper van Beethoven's David Lowery duets on "The Ballad of Jack and Haley", a track that does sound like Reilly fronting Cracker. The disc closes with "The Golden Corner", which is kind of like "Jungleland" without the bombast. The Springsteen references are appropriate here, as this disc may be to today's bleak economic times what The River was to the Rust Belt/Sun Belt upheaval of the late 70s/early 80s.
Right now it's only available digitally, with a CD release planned in February.
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