Review: “Railroad Blues Anthology” by Menic
Singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Menic, whose solo debut was recently released by Voodoo Rhythm Records, is probably one of those artists that you have never heard of, despite his level of talent, and despite his long held and highly regarded place in the international roots scene. The reason you may have never heard of him, apart from the fact the he is part of a rather obscure scene that exists a great distance from mainstream music, is that he has worked and performed with a small handful of bands – Zeno Tornado, The Dead Brothers, Mama Rosin, Delaney Davidson, and The Tight Finks – but not as a lead member. From what I have gathered, Menic hails from Boston, Massachusettes, but he has been doing the expatriate thing for some years now, since relocating to Bern (Switzerland) and “Railroad Blues Anthology” is his first official solo endeavor outside being an occasional street musician.
With twelve new original songs, “Railroad Blues Anthology” proves quite a debut from a promising artist. Menic certainly has his own style, as his sound, though primarily folk, touches on a few other genres, like blues, country and rockabilly. An all-acoustic album, “Railroad Blues Anthology” has a rustic, organic quality, making it a genuine roots offering. Be that as it may, Menic has developed his own take on these pre-existing styles, placing it somewhere between traditional and contemporary. And in that way it has a much broader appeal.
Menic’s lyrical content is top notch, too, as it is both personal and intelligent, with line after line of true-to-life material. In fact, in the liner notes, Menic comments that, “This album is dedicated to my family. It is a recollection of treasured memories and recent insights turned into fiction and wrought into song.”
Shake My Bones, the album’s opener, is a lively country and rockabilly number, while the next song, I Sold Myself, is a folk song of a decidedly more somber note, with a detailed narrative about a young man who, leaving behind his family and his girl, goes off to experience the horrors of war. Lay Some Boot In is a bluesy song with some rather interesting lyrics. 1957 Ford Meteor is a fun rockabilly song. Gunpowder Mill is a tightly executed country tune about a working class woman and mother named Jenny. Henry Ford Revisited is a killer folk and blues composition. And the album’s closer, Waiting for Zero, a countrified folk song, is the tale of a struggling musician.
Singer/songwriter Delaney Davidson was quoted as having said this about Menic – “A great musician. Folk styles pour from this man like water from a storm cloud…” And that sums it up pretty well.
You can get your own copy of Menic’s “Railroad Blues Anthology” directly from the Voodoo Rhythm Records website.