Just Down the Road from Shania Twain
Mark the Shark
The Man Who Was Hit by a Comet
Thank God I'm a Country Boy
The Day the Humvee Came
Guitars, Guns, & Groceries
My Good Eye
The Star Spangled Banner
we've come to expect from someone who is, arguably, one of the
most overlooked talents in the country, Lawrence delivers yet
another set of biting, sardonic and sometimes painful songs....a
disc that is packed with wonderful tunes that should cement his
place as a songwriter to hear -- and watch.
his satire is hilarious in its articulate twists and turns, Lawrence
is also a gifted portraitist who sketches an array of characters,
from a state prison warden to a Venezuelan street singer, with
detail, compassion, and grit.
ain't always pretty in the big city, as Foster's death attests.
And that's one of the reasons folks like yours truly and longtime
downtown roots rocker Eddy Lawrence high-tailed it outta town
a few years back. Lawrence's latest self-produced one-man opus,
Guitars, Guns, & Groceries, is proof that at least
one of us has improved his artistic lot in life since leaving
the Lower East Side.
Lawrence reveals himself as a historically
sensitive country-rock songwriter with a penchant for Barnumesque
oddities and small town ironies on "The Man Who Was Hit
by a Comet," "The Day the Humvee Came" and the
title track, an ode to Dick's Country Store, Music Oasis and
Gun City in the Canadian/New York border town near Lawrence's
rural upstate retreat. I'm mighty partial to "1931,"
the bittersweet memoirs of a ventriloquist's dummy, and "Just
Down the Road from Shania Twain," in which Eddy muses "I
wonder if her mother really gave her that name/I live just down
the road from Shania Twain." Beats "Green Acres"
and having to stomach that whiner, Mr. Haney, and Eva Gabor's
hot water soup, don't it?
and recording on solar and wind power in northern New York,
Eddy Lawrence is the epitome of the D.I.Y. ethic. His album
credits list everything from a Genesee Light beer carton (part
of his faux drum kit) to the model and make of his solar panels
and shotgun. Lawrence's lo-fi folk rock is much less imposing
than the gun-in-your-face album cover may suggest, but lyrically
there are plenty of barbed wire characterizations and witty
bear traps to keep you alert. On "Just Down the Road from
Shania Twain" (which is where he lives) Lawrence gives
you a tour of the neighborhood, from Dan the UPS guy to the
pot-selling neighbor with the half-blind dog. The mild twang
in Lawrence's voice and his down-home guitar solos add to the
folksy nature of these twisted American tales.
Lawrence's latest release, Guitars, Guns, & Groceries,
is a great record....the more I listened to it, the more it
grew on me. I can't stop listening to it, and it is constantly
on at my workplace. Eddy Lawrence's stories are fascinating
and fun to listen to. His guitar playing is unassuming and relaxing.
first heard Eddy Lawrence's "Just Down the Road from Shania
Twain's" on Gary Glabraith's KAOS radio show and was struck
immediately by it. One listen and I fell ass-over-teakettle
in love with it. It's an amazing short story with a rock beat,
intricate guitar fills and a totally hooky chorus that will
have you singing about Shania Twain even if, like me, you've
never seen her or heard her music.
The whole CD is like that, full of amazing
stories and penetrating insights into the human soul. There's
a story about "Mark the Shark," a DJ on the Mohawk
reservation who has more dedication than the U.S. mail, and
another about helping the National Guard pull their Humvee out
of a ditch in his front yard. Each one of these is sung in a
most casual manner as if the events had occurred earlier in
the day and he was just telling us about it now. Stories that
most people would take a few paragraphs to explain Lawrence
concisely sums up in one clever line and adds music to boot.
His song about a narrator who meets
a chambermaid in Duluth and traces her hapless history before
falling in love with her, has a chorus of "Surely you could
say that she was foolish/And the bad luck that she had was just
her fault, but she was smart enough to know/She had to do something
stupid, or she'd never do nothing at all."
Lawrence has a funny side that's comparable
to Loudon Wainwright III's deadpan humor, and this sixth self-produced
CD is stuffed with great songs that, like Jim Carroll's poems,
are worthy of hardback publication. If you care more about words
than just getting bammed on the music, then this is for you.
Reliance portable toilet, a Genny Lite beer carton and a Remington
870 Express 20 Gauge shotgun are usually not listed as instruments
on a CD's jacket. But then, there's only one CD called Guitars,
Guns, & Groceries, Eddy Lawrence's latest effort. And
most musicians don't live in a solar-and wind-powered house
in upstate New York.
It makes sense that Lawrence uses these
unconventional instruments to make music. He writes songs that
use life's little authenticating details to stir up larger truths
and deeper meanings.
Lawrence seems to be split between the
poetry of John Hiatt on songs such as "Mark the Shark"
and the cynicism of Warren Zevon, as displayed on "Just
Down the Road from Shania Twain."
from the cover of Eddy Lawrence's latest album Guitars, Guns,
& Groceries, you might fairly make the assumption that
you were in for a disc-full of redneck songs, with a little bit
of badass thrown in for good nature. On the other hand, once you
put this record on, you're greeted with straightforward, mostly
acoustic songs which tend towards the no-nonsense and away from
the overly sensitive side of the sincere singer/songwriter coin.
These songs mix Lawrence's skillful storytelling and sharp wit
into such a powerful mix of subtlety and sledgehammer that you'll
barely know what hit you. Between the humor of "Just Down
the Road from Shania Twain" and "Mark the Shark"
(any song that says "rock the nation" is cool by me),
and portrait-style tales like "La Iguana" and "Ruth,"
you have plenty to fill out a well-rounded album. Of course, Lawrence
doesn't stop there, delivering the goods in the down department
with my favorite tunes here "My Good Eye" and "Frank."
And then you really have to respect his "hardcore" D.I.Y.
approach, especially his resourcefulness in scrabbling together
a "faux" drum kit which includes wooden spoons and a
Genny Light Beer carton (with empty cans), and a "faux"
bass which at times is just a "Telecaster tuned wicked low."
I get excited about things like this and while I know that some
do-it-yourself-ers tend to play up the process to the point where
it becomes a novelty or overshadows the songs, this record never
falls into that trap. Indeed, I think that's part of the no-nonsense
I was talking about. Lawrence just does his thing, letting these
enjoyable songs stand for themselves with an utter absence of
frills and a high sound quality which more
than appropriately fits the bill. There's a big hunting &
guns-as-a-way-of-life quotient here, which makes sense in context,
coloring the songs with a country/old-west feel at times and anchoring
the trinity that makes up the title of the record. On the track
of the same name, "Guitars, Guns, & Groceries,"
Eddy pays homage to a local general store and its owner, crafting
another of the more memorable moments on this record. Undeniably
addictive, I think it's a sure winner for country-ish folkies
and Americana enthusiasts alike.
our friends at "Dick's
Country Store & Music Oasis", featured on the back cover
of Eddy's album "Guitars, Guns, & Groceries".
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