For many musicians, it's a dream to record in the famed Shoals region with members of the legendary Muscle Shoals recording crew. But Jon Langford was invited to do just that, completely sight-unseen. After producing artwork for an exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2015, the Welsh musician was invited to come out to Alabama to record by Elvis's former bassist and member of Muscle Shoals rhythm section, Norbert Putnam.
Joined by fellow Shoals musicians David Hood, Randy McCormack and Will McFarlane, along with Chicago musician John Szymanski and backup singers Tomi Lunsford, Bethany Thomas and Tawney Newsome (also an up-and-coming comedian), Four Lost Souls shows Langford moving further away from his punk rock roots with the Mekons and transitioning his brand of alt-country into NPR adult contemporary territory.
But, nonetheless, Langford's eighth LP is an accomplished piece of music, beautifully executed and written, giving his musicians a ton of room to stretch out and expose the soul of each song. Langford lends his voice and acoustic guitar playing as an accent to Four Lost Souls, as his backup singers take the lead on the majority of the album's 13 tracks, including "In Oxford Mississippi" and "Masterpiece."
Although many songs lack the fire and passion that defined his earlier work, with the exception of the race-relation lyrical content of "What's My Name?" and the growling "Snake Behind Glass," Four Lost Souls is simply unlike anything else in Jon Langford's sprawling discography. (Bloodshot)