11 Songs, 49 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

With the Blasters, X and his own solo career, Dave Alvin has steadily featured an enviable guitar tone, sincere vocals and songs of wit and careful details. Eleven Eleven is another masterful sweep. “Harlan County Line” begins things with a Spaghetti Western noir feel that rolls into the tough shuffle of “Johnny Ace Is Dead,” where Alvin spends a few minutes going over the details of the late, great singer’s death by Russian Roulette. “Black Rose of Texas” is an authoritative ballad where Alvin turns up the pathos as he croaks a list of anecdotes that multiply in poignancy as the song builds to its climax. “No Worries Mija” continues this mode, with a narrative sense worthy of a short story. “Run Conejo Run” is further noir with a simmering Bob Diddley beat and electric guitars that like switchblades cut through the night. “What’s Up With Your Brother?” is a dirty blues shared with Alvin’s brother Phil. “Dirty Nightgown” is a great come-on. Alvin plays a literary man’s blues, but never loses the ability to feel.

EDITORS’ NOTES

With the Blasters, X and his own solo career, Dave Alvin has steadily featured an enviable guitar tone, sincere vocals and songs of wit and careful details. Eleven Eleven is another masterful sweep. “Harlan County Line” begins things with a Spaghetti Western noir feel that rolls into the tough shuffle of “Johnny Ace Is Dead,” where Alvin spends a few minutes going over the details of the late, great singer’s death by Russian Roulette. “Black Rose of Texas” is an authoritative ballad where Alvin turns up the pathos as he croaks a list of anecdotes that multiply in poignancy as the song builds to its climax. “No Worries Mija” continues this mode, with a narrative sense worthy of a short story. “Run Conejo Run” is further noir with a simmering Bob Diddley beat and electric guitars that like switchblades cut through the night. “What’s Up With Your Brother?” is a dirty blues shared with Alvin’s brother Phil. “Dirty Nightgown” is a great come-on. Alvin plays a literary man’s blues, but never loses the ability to feel.

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