Lou Ford Alan Freed's Radio

The self-described "workingman's pop" of Lou Ford's second release was a bit of a hard sell for me, at first, but three or four listens of Alan Freed's Radio had me hooked. The Charlotte, NC, quintet immediately bring recent Wilco efforts to mind - the country-channelled Abbey Road sound shows up on "So As I Go" and "Come On Sun," to name a few. Occasional missteps such as "What've I Gotta Do" and "Said What I Said" show up early, casting doubts aplenty, but halfway through the record things really start to gel. Chad Edwards' sole contribution, "A Mile Away," is the highlight, meditating à la Whiskeytown while John Morris's big beautiful Hammond swirls fill in the gaps. Lou Ford finishes strong, offering bluegrass ("Mexico") and tasteful melancholy ("Maybe I"), but Ford's driver, Alan Edwards, might consider giving up the wheel to brother Chad a little more often to keep this thing on the road. (Cargo)