Thursday, January 27, 2011
Wino - Adrift
I’m probably the last person you want reviewing an “acoustic” album. For the most part, acoustic guitar bores me to tears after a few minutes (Muddy Waters – Folk Singer is one of the few exceptions). But this is Wino we’re talking about, the master of doom, not some Jeff Tweedy snooze-fest so I approached it with an open mind and open beer.
Thankfully, the electric guitar makes an appearance early on and helped me to dive into this very solid album. Wino is an excellent player and it’s actually refreshing to hear him play acoustic. Lots of the riffs would probably work well in a band setting but playing them solo creates space for his great singing voice and powerful lyrics.
The title track starts off the album sounding like something The Who might have done in their early 70’s prime, energetic and moody. What really sold me on the record is the 2nd song, “I Don’t Care.” I’d imagine this is what Wino would say to me if I told him I was hesitant about listening to his acoustic album. It’s impossible for me to resist any kind of “fuck you” type of song extolling the virtues of having long hair and doing whatever you want. And then he rips into a great electric solo. Wino’s mentioned that Ross The Boss (The Dictators, Manowar, Shankin Street, etc) is one of his favorite guitarists and you can really hear the influence on this one.
“Hold On Love” and “Old & Alone” reveal a bit of a Beatles influence with big melodies to counteract the strong, personal lyrics. “Shot In The Head” is a great honky tonk shuffle. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Wino likes to drink beer and listen to Lefty Frizzell and Charlie Rich on a Saturday night. Even without bass or drums, it has a great boogie feel and killer slide guitar solo. The instrumental “O.B.E.” is all electric and lets him get all Frippertronic for 3 minutes.
“Green Speed” is the fastest song on the album with killer dueling electric leads over a driving acoustic rhythm. But the real highlight of the album for me is the cover of Motorhead’s biker anthem “Iron Horse/Born To Lose.” It’s always been one of my favorite Motorhead songs (especially the On Parole version when Larry Wallis was in the band) and Wino really makes it his own. With all due respect to Lemmy, I don’t think he has a drivers license and shouldn’t really be operating any vehicles, while Wino is a well known die-hard motorcycle mutherfucker. The lyrics obviously mean a lot to him and his soulful vocals deliver the message hard.
Wino’s discography is pretty solid and Adrift is a great addition to it. Don’t let the “unplugged” thing scare you off. You can still play it loud n proud.
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