John Bunzow – Counterfeit Salvation
I have to admit that I’m not really the kind of guy who listens to a lot of country music. A lot of this is country oriented. That doesn’t stop me from liking it, though. There are enough other things here, and it’s done well enough, that I can still appreciate it.
The opener is entitled “Song and Dance,” and it is equal parts down and dirty singer songwriter stylings and country music. This is as much post punk rock and roll as it is country, though. It’s a strong tune and a great beginning to the album.
The punk sneer is a bit more prominent on “Miss My Whiskey.” Yes, this still has a lot of country, but it’s probably closest to a lot of the singer songwriters that were all over the place in the 1990s. You know, the guys who came in as a result of the punk movement.
Funk and psychedelia merge on “Detour.” It has a lot of jam band sensibilities. It’s one of the strongest cuts here, and some definite variety. Speaking of jam bands, “Regina” really feels a lot like a jam band song. It’s a mellower tune with a nice groove.
I’m not overly enthused about “Since You Came Around.” It’s not bad, but the mellow country ballad stylings don’t do that much for me. A mid-tempo rocker, “Quicksand” is again in a rather jam band like mode. I could see Dave Matthews doing something like it.
There are some weird, almost jazz prog elements to the title cut. Add in some hints of Chris Gaines (yes, the Garth Brooks alter-ego) and you are heading in the right direction. This is strange, but really cool. Dave Matthews seems to merge with country music on “Sometimes.” It’s another strong tune, and that comes from someone who doesn’t really like a lot of country. I like this a lot.
Next comes “Better Way of Living Our Lives” and again the jam band power is strong with this one. It has some hints of the blues, too. I am not overly impressed with the string arrangement, though. This isn’t all that far removed from a lot of jam music overall. It works well.
The jam band reference continues on “Too Much Love.” It is another strong tune. There isn’t a lot of country in the mix on it. I would have preferred it if he’d remained in jam band mode for the final cut. Instead, that song (“Unwind This Tailspin”) ends the whole thing back in down home country fashion. It’s a good song no matter the musical style, though. It’s just not really my kind of thing.
While this isn’t always my kind of thing, I found plenty here to which I could relate. Bunzow is obviously talented. The jam band elements are pretty prevalent here. I’d have to guess that he comes by them somewhat naturally since he lives in Portland, Oregon. I’m not sure where the country elements come from, but then again, the Grateful Dead had a lot of country in their sound and the Allman Brothers were a jam band. So, maybe it’s not that much of a stretch.