Christian Kiefer, Matthew Gerken and Jefferson Pitcher Of Great and Mortal Men: 43 Songs for 43 Presidencies

As a Canadian, indulging in a triple-disc box set dedicated to the 43 U.S. presidents seems rather odd. Sure, we have close ties to the States and likely even know a bit of American history but, on paper, such an exercise in U.S. patriotism seems a bit alienating for us north of the border. Yet despite the national differences, on record, Of Great and Mortal Men: 43 Songs for 43 Presidencies goes down surprisingly well, at least from a musical perspective. Unlike what you’d expect from a sprawling three-CD set, presidential songwriters Christian Kiefer, Matthew Gerken and Jefferson Pitcher make their project a sonically consistent one, sticking to a sombre indie folk aesthetic that aims for one solid listening experience rather than several. And by looking at the celebrity cast of guest stars, which includes Smog’s Bill Callahan, Califone, Mark Kozelek, Alan Sparhawk of Low and Rosie Thomas, you can gauge the flavour and quality of sounds to be found. But as far as any lyrical analysis of how these presidential men were portrayed, well, that’s best left to the Americans. (Standard)