Greg Graffin “Cold As The Clay”

Album Reviews | Jul 10th, 2006

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Record Label: Anti Records
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It seems very common these days, with well known punk singers or musicians doing an acoustic or folk album. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I thought Nikola from Millencolin’s solo album was great and different than what he usually does. As far as this Greg Graffin album is concerned, you haven’t heard him do American folk songs before. His vocals are similar to the singing in Bad Religion (but slower); you just haven’t really heard him playing too many acoustic & twangy songs before. This is definitely an interesting album.

Graffin is back by some of the members of the Weakerthans, with guest singing from fellow Anti-Records vocalist Jolie Holland. Other people on the album that lend to the folkiness are Joe Wack, Chris Berry, and David Bragger. The first song is a harmonica driven song that I think starts the album off just right. You just realize from the start what kind of album you are gonna get. Which is a raw, folk, working-class album dedicated to American music. When listening to this, a few artists come to mind like Ewan MacColl, Bob Dylan, Nick Drake, Hank Williams and Woody Guthrie. I think a few years ago when I heard this album, I would have hated it. When you grow older, your music taste tends to expand and that is what happened to me. I now love Celtic and folk music, so I can appreciate this album a little more now than I did maybe 5 years ago. I think when the banjo is present, Graffin’s song sound better to me. Lately I just have been liking more & more songs with the banjo, because the guitar gets so boring. Well after you hear it for so long, it’s nice to hear something different. I like the song “The Watchmaker’s Dial,” where the piano is in the background, but the playing is subtle enough that you don’t really notice it that much. I believe Greg is playing that as well.

This album is very different than what you normally hear from Greg Graffin of Bad Religion. The songs are slow, folky, and have a bit of a old country western feel to it. If you are a fan of Bad Religion, you might be disappointed because you’re probably expecting something punk rock. I really dug this album though, and you might too.

Bottom Line: If you are expecting Bad Religion type of music here, you might be disappointed.
Notable Tracks: Don’t Be Afraid to Run, Little Sadie, Talk About Suffering, California Cotton Fields, The Watchmaker’s Dial
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