The weather has shaped up nicely since this morning’s imminent gloominess…albeit it’s a bit windy. No matter though given that today’s run is a mere 40 minute (7k) jog through the Ridgeway/ Crystal Beach area. So there’s no pick-ups, no pace, no nuthin’…just some fresh air and a healthy attitude. This afternoon’s listening pleasure then is the newest album by Shovels & Rope, ‘Busted Jukebox, Volume 1‘ released just this past November.
The folk-rock duo of Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent called in their talented friends and collaborators to tackle songs from Elvis Costello, Nine Inch Nails and Guns n’ Roses, just to name a few. Each tune is imbued with Shovels & Rope’s signature roots sound and the individual influence of the unique rootsy guest featured on each track.
So, really, it’s double the awesome…or Awesome2, if you will.
Hearst and Trent’s deep and greasy blend of Americana and indie rock works well with this eclectic batch of material, which ranges from vintage R&B (Toussaint McCall’s ‘Nothing Takes the Place of You‘) and classic rock (Neil Young‘s ‘Unknown Legend‘) to Hearst and Trent’s not-so-guilty teenage pleasures (‘Patience‘ by Guns N’ Roses and ‘Last‘ by Nine Inch Nails). They also work with artists who mesh well with their musical sense, in which they respect tradition while messing with it a little at the same time, and the songs are by and large stronger than their own work (which is no insult given the pedigree of the writers they’re interpreting here). The Preservation Hall Jazz Band is a fine fit for the mingled warmth and regret of Lou Reed’s ‘Perfect Day‘, ultimately turning an otherwise cheerful song into a near funeral dirge, the Milk Carton Kids provide the right “3 A.M. in a cheap motel room vibe” on ‘Patience‘, Lucius adds a welcome gospel undertow to Nick Lowe’s ‘(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding‘, and JD McPherson wins Best in Show honors for his passionate and heartfelt reading of Elvis Costello’s ‘Nothing Takes the Place of You‘. Other featured guests include Shakey Graves and J. Roddy Walston.
Although it was just a wee spin through the neighborhood, ‘ol Thunder n’ Lightning were feeling the weight of yesterday evening’s weights session for sure. However, there needn’t be any significant pace kept today, nor was it likely was it going to happen anyway. But, hopefully, they will soon begin adjusting accordingly and strengthening themselves up so that these easy “joy runs” are more, you know, “joyful”. Not that my training is meant to be an unbroken boulevard of green lights or anything. Regardless, the sun is out, the day is warm and it was an otherwise perfect day for a jog.