- Can’t live with them, can’t live without them
Rain Perry’s not a name that gets mentioned very often when discussing female singer/songwriters, but a quick search throws up an interesting and lauded career with her songs covered by the likes of Tom Russell and a host of favourable reviews of her previous albums. Living in the bohemian atmosphere of Ojai, California she’s a child of the sixties who recalls sitting in the wings while the Jerry Garcia Band played, wishing she was up there on stage playing along with them. Despite living with rheumatoid arthritis which these days limits her guitar playing, she’s managed to release several albums and wrote the theme song for an American TV show Life Unexpected. ‘Men’ is a Kickstarter funded venture that features her sultry vocals on a fine collection of songs and is very much a collaborative effort with producer Mark Hallman who plays most of the instruments.
Most of the songs are variations on the theme of relationships as Perry sings of strained partnerships, cheating men, and growing old together. The men she sings about are all flawed although some have or had redemptive qualities. The quarreling pair driving to Joshua Tree in Get In The Car may be beyond repair while the ‘Photonegative of Love’ portrays an empty emotionless affair but ‘Happily Ever After’ has an air of optimism as love lingers on. While several of the songs recall the earlier efforts of Suzanne Vega, Perry ranges from the zippy pop rock of ‘Get In The Car’ to the pessimistic folk tinged ‘One Of These Days’ which resembles Richard Thompson’s kitchen sink dramas. The album reaches its zenith with ‘Atlas’, a lengthy spoken word piece where Perry takes in the broken Titan who held the world on his shoulders hitting skid row once his burden is removed. She describes his redemption as he paints his way out of his confusion until finally he achieves a catharsis and becomes just another working man at the breakfast table preparing for the day ahead. It’s a parable of sorts and Perry delivers it with panache.
Rounding out the album Perry covers two songs that fit into the general concept of relationships and their perils. Robert Earle Keen’s ‘Then Came Lo Mein’ captures a couple in trouble with a flashpoint that could make or break them, but ultimately cements their bond. A country lament delivered by Perry in a country style it’s a powerful rendition. She closes with Chuck Prophet’s ‘Let’s Do Something Wrong’ where routine is stultifying and some excitement is required to reignite the fires of affection. With some rousing guitar squalls from Hallman and a great chorus which features assistance from Julie Christensen it ends the album in fine style.
This entry was posted on Monday, September 30th, 2013 at 4:19 pm
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.