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Tilt-A-Whirl by Drew Nelson
Released: Feb 2012
Label: Red House Records
After opening with three devastating hardscrabble snapshots -- a ditch-digger injured in Iraq, a migrant laborer impregnating a Marine's daughter, a bank repossessing the home a man built so he burns it down -- this Navy veteran from Michigan could coast. To an extent, he does: Two duets feel thin, three love songs soggy and unspecific; vocals flatten into sepia cardboard. But details win out -- boomtowns gone bust, lost-cause Catholicism, immigration in 1868 and now. "Copper," a storm dirge culminating in Native American chants, deserves to be hammered home by a biker band.
CHUCK EDDY
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