IN THE WEEDS (Trailer Records) Bo Ramsey
Turn that up a little. Little bit more. Hell, that's good.
Spook guitar. Every cool tone in the book. Kelly Joe Phelps plays some great lap steel, and Billy Watts and Al Schares play 12 string and other electric tracks, but mostly it's Boford himself, point man for Greg Brown and Lucinda Williams. For the many of us that have enjoyed his playing with those two class writers, as well as his production of their records, it's great to get a look at Bo's world.
The record's not new, but I doubt it's gotten around the way it should have. If you're a fan of Alt-Country or Americana music, you need to have this record. It's dirty, inspired, hopeless, searching, necessary. The tracks on "Desert Flower" alone are worth twice the price of admission. Buy it from a great homegrown label, Trailer Records.
Surprisingly generous, revealing songs, and Ramsey's plaintive vocals really make contact. The production is a very blue blueprint that should be studied by anyone who wants to make records in this genre, called many things. When I first heard the term alternative country, it sounded like the new outlaw music, a darker, bluesier, more subversive country culture. Like this.
There are 3 or 4 hot rave-ups on the record, and several deep groove numbers. I dig the one co-written with Greg Brown, "Ain't it Hard," some great lyrics there. But I like this record best when it gets really slow or bare, stripped down and spooky, that's hard to do well. That's when it all gets laid out on the table, and there's nowhere to hide. Nobody's talkin and no one's tapping their foot, it just is.
It's high time we had a new CD from Bo Ramsey. I'm sure glad that I finally got on to this one. It's great. Sample some excerpts on our Listen page. And check out the review from our web designer Kate G. on a rare and artful Bo video, shot by ace photographer Sandy Dyas. FG