March 8, 2010


Heat Treatment: a review of (Ben Greenman, 3/08/10, The New Yorker)

[F]ourteen years on, Ringenberg and the guitarist Warner E. Hodges have reunited and taken on two new members, the bassist Al Collins and the drummer Pontus Snibb, for “Halcyon Times” (Courageous Chicken). The first sounds on the record are Hodges’s guitar, skittering through the opening of “Moonshine Guy,” a sharply funny character sketch (“And he yells, and he roars / Loves the Stones, hates the Doors / Thinks the Beatles sing for girls / He’s a moonshine guy in a six-pack world”). The songs on “Halcyon Times,” uniformly excellent, move from affecting workingman ballads (“Mother of Greed,” a multi-generational epic that begins in Wales in 1910) to breathtakingly forceful country-tinged power pop (“Mona Lee,” which comes off like Southern-fried Cheap Trick) to a moody story-song about the vagaries of the music business (“Twang Town Blues,” which quotes liberally from Dylan and Johnny Cash). Hodges plays with as much joy and abandon as the songs demand, which is a tremendous amount; the soaring “Golden Days” is an autobiographical testament to the salvific power of music and girls.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 8, 2010 6:40 AM
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