Written by: Alex Green
From his punk days with the Suicide Commandos to his cowpunk days with Beat Rodeo, Steve Almaas has continuously proven he’s one of the most creative and versatile musicians around. But it’s the work in his compelling solo career that’s demonstrated that Almaas is one of the greatest songwriters currently working today.
Armed with a loose-limbed delivery and a poetic precision in his phrasing, Almaas’ new long player Trailer Songs is a philosophical surveying of the American heartland. Almaas sings songs about our daily struggles and our collective yearning for spiritual peace and he does so with intelligence and grace. The meditative “Saturday’s Child” is a smooth dose of melodic back porch twang, the soaring pop of “Your Life To Live” brings to mind Still Crazy After All These Years-era Paul Simon and the rootsy rave-up “Everything Goes” is a wild blast of good fun.
Elsewhere, “Moon Lullaby” plaintively aches in all the right places, while the swaggering bass line and Tin Pan Alley background vocals of “The Very First Kiss” has touches of both Bob Willis and Hank Williams. Later, “A Blues For Pilar” cranks lustily away, “Two Black Swans” is positively sublime and “You’re On Your Own” could have been written by Woody Guthrie.
One of the year’s very best.