11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A legendary debut (in retrospect),
This review is from: Faithless Street (Audio CD)
The first thing I heard by Whiskeytown was classic Stranger's Almanac (1996), which blew my mind and lead me to this album. Released in 1998, it compiles/collects the early work of Whiskeytown, who most famously ranked Caitlin Cary & Ryan Adams amongst their members.
There's a sense of an attempted self-mythology here, alongside early takes of later classics (Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight, Yesterday's News, 16 Days)- many culled from the bonus tracks from the Baseball Park sessions. The sound is like a more Stonesy Uncle Tupelo, or to be accurate- The Replacements (with added violin). Too Drunk To Dream stands out, a definitive alt-country track that recalls Gram Parsons - as do the harmonics of Adams/Cary. Tennesse Square showcases the side of Adams that would be fully explored with Heartbreaker- Adams becoming bored of the Whiskeytown sound- this is a great set of good songs & shows Adams et al taking their influences and rolling with it. Sad to think that Adams most recent work (Demolition & Gold) are SOOOO indebted to those influences- too retro for his own good.
The 21 tracks here remind us of what a great band Whiskeytown were and along with Stranger's Almanac and Adams solo-debut Heartbreaker give us the pure, real deal (whereas the other albums have some great songs & too much retro homage). Mining Town even reminds me of Fables-era REM, which is lovely. Faithless Street is a great collection of country-rock, alt-country & is more than worth investigating...It's also great to get wasted to!!!