One of the best American rock CD's of 1999, this was Badlees'first album recorded for a major label. The production is superb andguest musicians include one of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers. The real reason to buy this, however, is the band itself and the increasing maturity and range of their writing and playing. "Running Up That Hill" and "Thinking in Ways" are brilliant songs, immaculately performed. I would not expect to enthuse about songs dealing with pre-paid funerals ("Ways") and the break-up of a 34-year marriage (the angry but evocative "34 winters"), but these songs are pure gold. "don't let me hide", "luther's windows", "little hell", and "middle of the busiest road" (the last is particularly good live - don't miss a chance to see these guys play!) are all first-rate rock songs that you won't be able to get enough of.
If you like this CD (and how could you not?), you must get "Amazing Grace," the Badlees' early 1999 self-produced CD that goes even farther to highlight the band's versatility. It's one of my favorite albums of recent years, partly for the infectious enjoyment the band obviously experienced in allowing themselves to stretch and experiment. I hope this CD is a hint of what's to come, because it suggests a group of versatile musicians capable of approaching the lofty tradition of The Band. The album features songs penned and sung by most of the band members, including the enjoyable, almost hillbilly tune "Ain't No Man," sung by bassist Paul Smith (who produced the CD with Alexander). The great moments include "I'm Not Here Anymore", "Long Goodnight", "Poison Ivy", "Time Turns Around", "Gone", and the rocking "In a Minor Way." (Which is to say, pretty much the whole CD. The other 4 songs are also good; you won't want to miss a song on this CD!)