Jason Eklund – Lost Causeway
“A Jimmie Rodgers blue yodel with slackin’ ramblings” is how Jason Eklund describes his song “Motivation Blues” in the liner notes of his second album, and it’s an apt description for his entire second album. Eklund’s as close to a reincarnation of Woody Guthrie as imaginable, but he doesn’t come off as a ramblin’ hobo retread. He’s so much the real thing that Lost Causeway comes across as a poignant and amusing update of an Americana icon.
Jason Eklund doesn’t have a permanent home base; he spends his days driving around the country in a ’77 Caprice. Beginning with “On The Way” — a song centered around the line “I’ve never been too broke to leave town” — the songs on Lost Causeway relate to his lazy, rambling lifestyle. On some, the reference is direct, as on the “What’s Left Of 66”; on others, Eklund rants through road-worn political observations (the left-leaning “Rusty Water”, “History Spills”) or weary-traveler blues (by automobile, not boxcar, as on “Motel Thin” and the lovely “Dreamin’ About the Keys”). His charismatic voice warbles with a tight drawl that adds to his rounder mystique, and it really charms on the occasional sing-song rap he uses — in the finest folk tradition — to explain what he just sang about.
Eklund has been around the country too much for his songs to be uniformly classified as country music, and though he shares the slacker attitude with fellow young-poet Beck, he lacks the urban groove that made Mellow Gold so memorable. But Lost Causeway is all tied together by a warm attitude, bygone playing, and as much DIY spirit as anyone since, well, Woody Guthrie.