Review: Willi Carlisle sings satirical, populist folk songs

“Peculiar, Missouri,” Willi Carlisle (Free Dirt Records)
Coming from a homosexual, 6-foot-4, 300-pound former highschool soccer captain who went on to sing Midwestern punk rock, pursue poetry in New York after which earn a fellowship to show literature within the Ozarks, this album is what you’d anticipate: totally different.
It’s terrific, too.
Like the prairie pioneers who inform his muse, Willi Carlisle has navigated outstanding terrain to reach at “Peculiar, Missouri,” a group of campfire folk that celebrates love whereas railing towards capitalism, meritocracy, our political divide and the designated hitter.
Carlisle’s sharp satire and literary bent separate him from the populist pack. He attracts on the work of Carl Sandburg and e.e. cummings, rhymes “Bugatti” with “Passamaquoddy,” and employs such phrases as fractal and chlorophyllic.
His vary of types additionally helps put “Peculiar, Missouri” on the musical map. The anthemic “I Won’t Be Afraid” will convey goosebumps with a singalong refrain aided by the vocals of Ordinary Elephant, earlier than Carlisle pledges to “love whoever I nicely please.” The title reduce is a speaking blues that takes a pivotal flip within the cosmetics aisle at Walmart, whereas the banjo-driven “Your Heart’s a Big Tent” proposes a gaggle hug. “Life on the Fence,” a weepy waltz a few conflicted bisexual, describes a love triangle in 3/4 time, and the drony conventional ballad “Rainbow Mid Life’s Willow” evokes the Scottish Highlands at the same time as Carlisle pronounces “wallow” as “waller.”
Elsewhere Carlisle sings a few household sawed in half (“Tulsa’s Last Magician”) and the empty attract of the vagabond way of life (“Vanlife”), all the time with a twinkle in his tenor. He additionally performs a imply button accordion. The former soccer captain deserves a high-five for this entertaining, thought-provoking snapshot of America.
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Steven Wine, The Associated Press

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