Returning to the country-blues groove, but in a minor key, "Cry" is literally about the grim frustration of being an infant who can't communicate her feelings. Perhaps metaphorically it's about artistic expression, but the lyrics draw such vivid pictures there's no need to reach for meaning. It's a fitting subject for a songwriter who's so good at getting to the roots of things: what could be more rootsy than infancy?
The title track sounds like a traditional country shuffle about life on the road, and for the most part it is, but it turns the cliched American "romance of the highway" on its head: "There nothing romantic about a highway/No big revelations, nothing new/And I can write a road song any day/There's nothing romantic about missing you." Then, in "The Only Way to Win," the protagonist pleads amusingly for misfortune and heartache so she can write great songs, sing the blues with authenticity and become a star.
In the pretty closer, "The Wind," Miraglia sings folk with authenticity. But it's the kind of song any reasonably talented folkie could have come up with. Danielle Miraglia's talents go far beyond that modest level. This CD kicks Americana ass.
Available at shows and at CD Freedom.
Danielle Miraglia is performing at the Soul of the Blues Summer Festival in New York City on the night of July 28.
Rob Russell & the Sore Losers, Lucky On The Side
Shouting like Phil Lynott, worldly and passionate like John Mellencamp, Rob Russell wails his heart out in every song on this CD. But lots of singers can wail; you still need good songs, and these guys have some really fine ones. If there were still a radio format that played straight-ahead grown-up rock, the insistently catchy opening track, "What Do You Know," would be a hit.
"American Bastard" is a pumped-up (in fact, slightly overblown) evocation of the musical life:
I'm just the bastard of ceremonies
Singing with a fair degree of acrimony
How am I gonna please a bunch of drunks like these?
It's pretty good, but the CD's second real standout track is "Swing Swing," a gorgeous power ballad with a Springsteen-like harmonica intro and a passionate intensity all Russell's own.