Words by Brett Bodner
Aside from being the guitarist and singer of Hot Water Music, Chuck Ragan has a made a name for himself through his solo work with his folk and Americana sound and strong, scratchy voice. With the release of his new solo album, Till Midnight, it sounds like Ragan is looking to mix in a little more rock and roll.
Till Midnight features Ragan and his band the Camaraderie, made up of guitarist-pedal steel player Todd Beene, fiddler Jon Gaunt and bassist Joe Ginsberg, and new drummer David Hidalgo Jr., of Social Distortion and formerly of Suicidal Tendencies. Unlike his previous three albums, Till Midnight gets heavy, thanks to Hildago Jr’s drums, which give Ragan’s sound a whole new dynamic.
The album kicks off with the single “Something May Catch Fire”, which is one of the catchiest songs Ragan has ever written. Aside from Ragan, Gaunt shines throughout the track and the fiddle melody is one that easily gets stuck in your head. The catchiness of the album continues on “Gave My Heart Out,” which features guest vocals from Revival Tour alumni Dave Hause and one of the most memorable choruses on the album.
A constant theme found in several of Ragan’s songs is love, and this idea can be found throughout. On Till Midnight, Ragan continues to wear his heart on his sleeve with lyrics “I need you/ like I need all my blood and my breath/” found on “Non Typical”, and even song titles like “Wake With You” and “You and I Alone.”
With spring just beginning, the album couldn’t have been released at a better time. It makes for a great road trip listen, and you can’t help but get the idea of spring in your head as it plays. Fortunately for fans everywhere, you don’t only have until midnight to check it out.
© March 25th, 2014
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