STYLE: Rock RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 19110-9442 LABEL: DMZ/Columbia 82796938702 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Mike Rimmer
On the cover of his first solo album in 14 years, Burnett is pictured holding his guitar like he might use it as a weapon. On the disc inside, he does! It's apparent that he's been silent since 1992 because he hasn't felt he had anything to say, now in the 21st century, disgusted by the socio-political landscape around him, Burnett has stepped back into the spotlight to vent his spleen. Not that he's been quiet in the intervening years since his production skills have helped artists as wide spread as Elvis Costello, Gillian Welch and Los Lobos, as well as putting together the multi-million selling 'O Brother Where Art Thou?' soundtrack. On his own he has created a sonic landscape for these new songs that is heavily based around some mind-blowing guitar from regular sidekick Marc Ribot and the polyrhythms of at least three drummers on every track. The result is a dense, jagged underlay for Burnett's lyrics which range from righteous indignation to a heartbreaking sense of personal heartbreak. Highlights include the anti-Bush "Palestine Texas" which has been rattling the cages of a few of my American listeners when I've played it on Rimmerama. Other moments of insightful deliberations on the political scene happen on "Fear Country" and "Earlier Baghdad". One of my personal faves is "Every Time I Feel The Shift" with its repeated refrain "we're marching up to Zion, the beautiful city of God" with its Hendrix-like guitar parts and mesmeric groove. A Christian since his days playing with Dylan in the mid '70s, Burnett, like Canada's Bruce Cockburn, has remained left wing politically with a spirituality which transcends the kidnapping of his faith by the religious right in the USA! He writes about the state of the world and his heart with depth and insight and Christian artists everywhere could learn a lot listening to this. Little doubt that while Burnett remains a cult figure at best, this is his best album and is proof to the fact he's quietly grown into a genius.
The opinions expressed in this article are
not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed
views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may
not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a
Interested in reviewing music? Find out