Come Back AmericaLABEL:
Hey Dep RecordsSERIAL:
J Marina MuhlfriedelCOUNTRY OF ORIGIN: LINEUP:
Nathan Shaffer - vocals, guitars. piano * Matt Forsyth - drums * Yussi Wenger - mandolin * Paulo Gustavo, Evren Edler - bass * Tony Terborg - keyboards * Bill Moore - percussion * Robbyn Kirmsse, Lucy Kennedy - backing vocals * Evan Wilson - viola * David Low - cello * Christopher Guardino, Mick Muhlfriedel - orchestra arrangementsTRACK LISTING:
01 Come Back America * 02 L.A Chop Shop * 03 Welcome To Palestine * 04 Getting Closer * 05 Lucy (Where Are You Tonight) * 06 My Little Friend (Jeff's Song) * 07 Drive The Night Away * 08 I Don't Mind * 09 A Better Life * 10 Prince Of The OaksRATING: WEBLINKS: www.nathanshaffermusic.com
Well the title and sentiment of this new album by former Gambler
and Roq Royale
singer Nathan Shaffer lands right square in the middle of the U.S Elections - as I write this review. Nancy Pelosi has just been given the boot, Ron Paul is still as outspoken as ever, while his son Rand Paul can't decide which flavour of tea he prefers. All the more reason that Shaffer's message is hardly an endearing picture of American politics, and he wouldn't be the first person of significance asking why the majority of citizens don't take back America. I call it apathy. Not that this album is all about the shortfalls of the American political system - as it appears to be constrained to just the title track only. There is a personal tribute on 'Come Back America', and that is the recent passing of Nathan's son Jeff. The album is dedicated to him, and it is probably those poignant moments that help pacify the album.
The opening title track 'Come Back America' bemoans the state of affairs and the disempowering of its people in what is a cry for freedom type of song. Some airy and swirly synths announce the next track 'L.A Chop Shop', which is a tale of what can happen to you in Tinseltown, where you can get gobbled up and spat out. 'Welcome To Palestine' is an ode to the Palestinian people, something the Israeli's won't be too happy about, but what the hey! You can't please everyone. The ballad 'Getting Closer' is a song about self discovery and continuous improvement in one's life. Another ballad 'Lucy (Where Are You Tonight') follows, with mandolin, strings and an overall acoustic rural feel. 'My Little Friend (Jeff's Song)' is Nathan's tribute to his late son, and is played in the style of The Beatles
60's whim. 'Lets Drive The Night Away' is a slice of Americana, big jangly guitars, carefree lyrics, caught somewhere between Neil Young
and Tom Petty
. For something different, we get a hoe-down tune with 'I Don't Mind', this is so rural, you can hear the 'yee-ha's' in the background. 'Better Life' is a sweeping ballad with its origins set deep in the 70's. There are load of horns and organ, and this has the feel of Bill Champlin
in a few spots. It segues into 'Prince Of Oaks', a continued tribute for son Jeff, a personal message for sure.
Apart from a handful of tracks, the album never really takes off as a true hard rocking album. The number of ballads and orchestration keeps things on the side of moderation, which tips things in its balance unfortunately. The political angle is kept pretty much to the title track, you could probably throw 'Welcome To Palestine' in there too, while the remaining songs are spread around a number of subjects, the passing of son Jeff notwithstanding. It's clear that this is a very personal album for Nathan, combining his disdain for the political world around him, along with the tragic loss of family. Also, this is less about his iconic days as a 70's and 80's rocker, it's more about a contemporary look at the world as it is in 2010. One can agree with the sentiment, but the real tragedy is that both Politicans and the population at large have their blinkers on! At least one musician has made a stand, I hope there will be more.
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