10 Songs, 52 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The title song of Dave Alvin’s 2004 album Ashgrove describes his formative experiences at the legendary Los Angeles folk club of the same name: “There was Big Joe and Lightnin’ / And Reverend Gary too / Well I’d sit and stare and dream / Of doin’ what they could do / I wanna go back to the Ashgrove / That’s where I belong.” The long-shuttered venue becomes a symbol for the honesty Alvin reaches for in his songwriting. It's also symbolic of a life in music that's reaching its latter stages. “Everett Ruess” and “The Man in the Bed” are gentle songs about the frustrations men feel as they age and become alienated from the present and trapped in bodies to which they can no longer relate. While it'd be easy for Alvin to turn grumpy when addressing these themes, he always invests the songs with dignity and affection. Alvin himself is getting older and doesn’t push his voice and guitar like he used to in The Blasters, but the lusty blues songs “Black Sky,” “Sinful Daughter," and "Black Haired Girl” show a virility that's stealthier than his early work but just as potent.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The title song of Dave Alvin’s 2004 album Ashgrove describes his formative experiences at the legendary Los Angeles folk club of the same name: “There was Big Joe and Lightnin’ / And Reverend Gary too / Well I’d sit and stare and dream / Of doin’ what they could do / I wanna go back to the Ashgrove / That’s where I belong.” The long-shuttered venue becomes a symbol for the honesty Alvin reaches for in his songwriting. It's also symbolic of a life in music that's reaching its latter stages. “Everett Ruess” and “The Man in the Bed” are gentle songs about the frustrations men feel as they age and become alienated from the present and trapped in bodies to which they can no longer relate. While it'd be easy for Alvin to turn grumpy when addressing these themes, he always invests the songs with dignity and affection. Alvin himself is getting older and doesn’t push his voice and guitar like he used to in The Blasters, but the lusty blues songs “Black Sky,” “Sinful Daughter," and "Black Haired Girl” show a virility that's stealthier than his early work but just as potent.

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