Various My Old Man: A Tribute to Steve Goodman

As a part of the singer-songwriter revolution of the early ’70s, Steve Goodman didn’t become as much of a cult figure as some of his peers, like John Prine or even Kris Kristofferson. His untimely death in 1984 seems more tragic, since he didn’t get to witness his no-nonsense style influence the current generation of Americana artists. My Old Man goes a long way to illuminate this influence, despite being instigated mainly by Canadians; among them Chris Brown, Kate Fenner, and Luther Wright & the Wrongs. All of the interpretations stay true to Goodman’s homey approach, which should sit well with long-time fans as well as inspire newcomers to seek out his original recordings. Of course, his best-known piece remains "City Of New Orleans,” covered by many, but most famously by Willie Nelson. However, the Wrongs approach the song with little heed to its history, presenting it with the similar wide-eyed humility that exuded from Goodman’s own recording. In fact, the album’s overriding vibe is the joy all the participants share in playing these deceptively simple songs. And judging by how Goodman’s music was irrevocably intertwined with his devotion to his family, merely acknowledging that joy within the songs may be the truest tribute anyone could pay to him. (Red Pyjamas)