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New Multitudes – Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker, and Yim Yames

May 5, 2012

One of my favorite albums of the last 15 years is the Billy Bragg/Wilco collaboration Mermaid Avenue.  The fact the songs were based on the notebook lyrics of Woody Guthrie was cool, but what I really enjoyed was that it was just a plain great performance.

So when I heard that Jay Farrar (who has an obvious connection with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy) was mining those same notebooks I was excited to check it out.

I purchased the deluxe edition that had two CDs (back in February – sorry just getting to this review now).  Usually the second CD is nothing special, but on this release I think I prefer the second CD over the first.  I have always been a Jay Farrar fan, whether it was Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt or solo.  His work on this album does not disappoint.  I am also a big My Morning Jacket fan and similarly the Yim Yames stuff does not disappoint.  I have no idea who Will Johnson and Anders Parker are – but there is not a bad cut across two CDs – so I guess I like those guys too.

Overall the album has a kind of early R.E.M. feel – folk-rock.  The lyrics sound completely contemporary despite their origin . I think this completely holds its own to Mermaid Avenue.  Woody Guthrie was a true American music icon – if he was only remembered for his songs, he would be amazing, but his disciples (Dylan, Springsteen, etc.) put him is a truly iconic category.  The fact that contemporary musicians can take his fragmented lyrics and be inspired to turn then into folk-rock masterpieces is the ultimate tribute.


From → Music Reviews

  1. Fantastic. ‘Mermaids’ are a couple of my fave recordings. Pretty high praise on this. Why I’m here Axl. You do the work. I’ll tell Big Earl (son) he’s a Morning Jacket guy.

    • It is always exciting for me when you stop by. For years I have posted and hardly anyone has noticed. So it is a big thrill to have a regular reader who “likes” and comments as a bonus!

      • Here’s the deal Axl. I used to follow music a lot more closely but life gets in the way and other things take priority (kids, etc). Back in the day i had a couple go to music guys i trusted who would steer me to good sounds. You have the same vibe. I basically fly solo now or hear a tid bit here and there. ‘catchgroove’ is CB’s new go to for new sounds and takes on artists I already know. Easy way to say it, your a great resource.

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