Dave Alvin Ashgrove

"And I’m thinkin’ of friends and lovers and how they come and go, like look-alike houses on the side of the road, full of everyday people tryin’ to get ahead, tryin’ to find a reason just to get out of bed.” These title-track lyrics by Dave Alvin stabbed me in the eye for some reason. I’ve heard thousands of blues songs over the years, generally blameful things that bemoan someone doing someone else wrong with a big smile. But these honest song lyrics, I like, and the defiant emotion they’re sung with, I trust, as Alvin rises to the edge of frustrated anger in this all-encompassing blues take of "All Night Long” by Waterbed Kev. Well, sorta. Either way, you can picture Springsteen writing words like these, and they’re just a slice of this surprisingly deep, well-rounded, mellow blues record from the former Blasters singer. Straying into a Dire Staits-y, third-joint poppiness throughout the record, Alvin rolls along, talking smoothly about what is wrong with the world, like the unsmiling black-haired girl reading gossip mags, and all the things that are right, like how he used to bang someone that looks like her. At his best, Alvin even sings like Gordon Lightfoot on this record your dad is sure to like, and you just might, too. (Yep Roc)