home listen reviews
Jim Reilley


Wow, folk pop cool, old school. This is one fabulous record.

Maybe you ran across a very hip folk rock group in the 80s called The New Dylans. Michael Stipe of R.E.M. called them his favorite group of '87, and they had outrageous press and years of gigs to burn. Our man Reilly was the co-founder of that group, whose EP Robert Christgau of The Village Voice included in his Top 5 for that year…heady stuff, to say the least.

You don't have to look or listen far into this Jim Reilley debut to get the picture. It's hard to write depressing songs that are this funny. In fact, you gotta go check out the bio on Jim's site. He's a very funny dude. And he recruited another funny and megatalented songwriter to produce this disc, Don Henry. Their combined reputations and black books attracted a pool of talent supreme. David Rawlings, Tim O'Brien, Dan Dugmore, Dave Pomeroy, Cathryn Styron, Eric Holt, Fenner Castner…some of these names are national, and some are Nashville session insiders, but they all show up in your record collection somewhere.

What's really shocking about The Return of Buddy Cruel is the glaring consistency of the songs, all fourteen of them. It's a beautiful thing when you can't decide what tunes to pick for clips, because they're all so good, and all so representative of what the artist is bringing to the party. In this case, it's a bittersweet and self-effacing view of love, life, and work. The lyrics are tragicomic works of folk pop art. The music is precious, beautiful melodies and changes and arrangements that speak to lifetimes of experience.

Nashville's a freaky town like that. There are people this talented writing in some room of a publishing company on Music Row, or playing or singing on a demo for themselves or some other songwriter in one of Music City's thousand studios. We'll try to keep you posted when one of them pokes their head up and puts out a great record, like The Return of Buddy Cruel. Watch for Jim Reilley, he'll be coming to your town.  • FG

return to covers        listen to clips        jimreilley.com

silent planet records        buy it here

puremusic home