P.W. Long: Remembered
if you like this you'll like: Steve Earle, Elvis Costello, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Jim Bryson, Blue Rodeo, Big Sugar, Big Wreck.
REVIEW: P.W. Long: Remembered
P.W. Long: Remembered [Touch and Go, 2003] (mp3s)
Three words? country soaked blues
After the supernova of legendary country-metal outfit Mule, guitar slinger Wig aka P.W. Long began to hit stages solo, delivering country-drenched blues with a hint of old school r&b to liven things up. I had the opportunity to see P.W. Long perform with former bandmate Mac McNeilly a few years ago, and what I witnessed left my jaw on the floor of the club. McNeilly was nothing but octopus arms, flailing on the kit as Long delivered some searing blues licks. At the time, I thought I had finally found the true blues salvation that the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion had kept proclaiming but continually failed to deliver.
Remembered marks my first opportunity to hear P.W. Long on CD and sadly, it looks like my quest for blues salvation will continue. While P.W. Long has considerable dexterity on the guitar, and is backed by a solid band including some nice organ flourishes on a few tracks, the songs themselves are indistinctive. From the opening note, the western landscape Long paints never feels completely new or fresh. Intentionally or not, Remembered lives up to its title. The ten tracks collected here deliver a sense of deja vu that the listener can't ever quite shake. It's a cowboy dreamworld where everything looks vaguely familiar.
Where Remembered untimately fails is its lyrics. Opener, "She's Gone," works over the subject-matter with such cliche that it's almost comical. Long sings of his "heart sagging," the "glass being half-empty or half-full" and "trying to find reasons why he shouldn't go on." "It Just Don't Seem To Matter" and "Court House" suffer from the same uninspired lyrics.
Long certainly hints at a great blues disc many times throughout Remembered, but lest he be doomed to a CD bin next to Johnny Lang, P.W. Long needs to venture from his standard blues formula. If there is one genre that has yet to be reinvented by indie rockers of the world, the blues is certainly it. Good-looking hipshakers like Ian Svenonius and Jon Spencer merely ape their predecessors: P.W. Long could certainly be the one writing the new rule book.