If the haunting harmonica hook that kicks off “Black Gold Blues” doesn’t grab you, I’m not sure what well. I’ve highlighted Quinn’s work in the past, but Black Gold Blues is his best work yet. Quinn pulls off a neat trick that so many others are trying to imitate, especially in these times — a political album that sounds as if it could apply to the 1890s, 1990s, or 2090s. On Black Gold Blues, Quinn makes it look easy.
The first two openers show off Quinn and his band’s blues chops. But we soon get into meatier lyrics with the heart of the album, “Fall in Line” and “Last Broken Town.” The first song is what feels like a pretty standard jeremiad against the disparities in our society etc etc but Quinn’s attention to imagery, his band’s intensity, and the passion in his own vocal performance will make it sound new. “Last Rotten Town,” however, is a beast all of its own. Evoking recent protest chants, the song is a jubilant folk song foreseeing the day when these chants will no longer be necessary:
Can’t you see trouble coming round?
It’s just around the corner
In the last broken town
This is one of my favorite protest songs right now, certainly ranking up there with M. Lockwood Porter’s How to Dream Again (incidentally, they’re both former classroom teachers).
Originally posted on Adobe & Teardrops