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Greg Graffin - Cold as the Clay (Cover Artwork)

Greg Graffin

Greg Graffin: Cold as the ClayCold as the Clay (2006)
Anti- Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: adamAdam
(others by this writer | submit your own)

There's certainly nothing contrived about Greg Graffin going the Americana route, as elements of folk and roots rock have appeared not-too-subtly in his lyricism and songwriting for years. Skimming over the Bad Religion songbook you'll find songs like "Faith Alone," "The Answer," "Cease" and "Street.
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There's certainly nothing contrived about Greg Graffin going the Americana route, as elements of folk and roots rock have appeared not-too-subtly in his lyricism and songwriting for years. Skimming over the Bad Religion songbook you'll find songs like "Faith Alone," "The Answer," "Cease" and "Streets of America" all credited to this half of that band's songwriting team. None of these were songs that, at their core, needed anything more than the conviction of the vocalist and an acoustic guitar to succeed. On a personal level, to hear Graffin muse on the influence of Neil Young and the Band on his Bad Religion work is fascinating. I first became seriously interested in music through punk records like Suffer as a teenager, only to arrive at Music from Big Pink, Harvest and the like in college. I get a great deal of closure knowing now that Graffin acknowledges that connection, and is reflecting upon it with these songs. Cold as the Clay ties a great number of threads in my personal listening history together, and for doing so has become very dear to me in a very short time.

Cold as the Clay is split between two groups of musicians, the first being the much publicised appearances of Stephen Carroll, Greg Smith and Jason Tait of Winnipeg's Weakerthans. Considering the folk tendencies and rural romanticism wrapped into every Weakerthans record, the decision to invite them to this project was an inspired one. Here they back Graffin on the album's modern, introspective country-rock fare. These were primarily songs penned by Graffin himself; a fairly direct line can be drawn from these to some of Bad Religion's calmer, reflective work. The album opening "Don't Be Afraid to Run" is a half spin of the volume knob and a dressing of distortion away from reaching that. Think Crazy Horse with Graffin's wise baritone standing in for Young's nasal tenor. The Weakerthans know their craft, and give these songs the ornamentation that a relaxed tempo allows. Perhaps that's something Bad Religion couldn't have comfortably done.

Intersecting Graffin's own songs are a collection of traditional standards. Producer Brett Gurewitz wisely kept these songs as authentic as possible, employing a number of musicians who could confidently present the sound. Joe Wack, Chris Berry and David Bragger contribute a lush bed of old-time guitar, banjo, fiddle and mandolin. Incomparable folk-jazz chanteuse Jolie Holland is present for many of these tracks, her subtle vocals going lengths to brighten Graffin's own. What results is a playful, uplifting feel to tunes like "Little Sadie" and "Willie Moore." There's a lightness to the roots material that's a complete contrast to Graffin's more conventionally structured songs. That he allows his vocals to flow with the spirit of these songs shows a great deal of respect for the source material. It would be too easy to trample over such delicate and well-honed musicianship, particularly if the mix favoured a voice as strong as Graffin's and tried to match it in volume. Credit is certainly due to Gurewitz for properly capturing this and maintaining the careful balance with the Weakerthans-backed rock songs.

There's a duality to this record and it's handled so well. Here you have two distinct styles, recorded and mixed in the way each demands, yet there's nary an abrupt shift between them. There are two very different sets of musicians here, separated by generation, genre and even nationality, yet Cold as the Clay was recorded in a week and sounds wonderfully effortless. Graffin's prior solo record was fuelled by personal tragedy and as such couldn't be further from Cold as the Clay. More than anything Greg Graffin's been a part of, this is a celebration.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
big-man13 (January 22, 2010)

P.S. anyone who is saying he is a hypocrite is a retard that song was supposed to be a mockery on religion you dumb fuck

big-man13 (January 22, 2010)

P.S. anyone who is saying he is a hypocrite is a retard that song was supposed to be a mockery on religion you dumb fuck

big-man13 (January 22, 2010)

fuck all of you who dis Greg Graffin. he is one of the best artists that has ever existed in the world.

iamrockzorz (June 22, 2008)

""lets keep following jesus" what sort of thing is that for the lead singer of bad religion to sing i mean come on bad religion is about anti-christianityi mean just read the name
the word hypocryt come to mind"

Seriously? well firstly you sound like an idiot, and secondly Bad Religion is not a stance against Christianity, it is a stance against the oppression of freedoms.

id yit.

MikeStupid (August 28, 2006)

"the word hypocryt come to mind"

The words "irony" and "satire" also come to mind.

jumptheshark (August 7, 2006)

This is definitely really cool stuff.

And whoever said Springsteen just ripped off Bob Dylan....Are you seriously fucking deaf?...Holy Shit

miff (August 1, 2006)

"lets keep following jesus" what sort of thing is that for the lead singer of bad religion to sing i mean come on bad religion is about anti-christianityi mean just read the name
the word hypocryt come to mind

Anonymous (July 15, 2006)

"Everyone here makes the "THE INTERNET IS SERIOUS BUSINESS" graphic so much more true, and so much more depressing. Good job, humanity.

While you argue, I will scope out and dish out for a ticket to see Tom Waits blow this jackass out of the water, in every aspect. Sorry kids."

How is having a serious discussion about a musical artist you like or hate made any more ridiculous because it's taking place on a computer, rather than in a cafe or at a bar?

Also, Tom Waits is way overrated. I'd rather listen to Greg Graffin any day (And I'm not one of those kids who only likes punk, I just cannot understand why everyone acts like Waits is a god. Him and Bowie. I'd rather listen to Dylan.).

astrovince (July 14, 2006)

He's called "the Boss" for a reason. The Graffin album is pretty cool.

gladimnotemo (July 13, 2006)

Everyone here makes the "THE INTERNET IS SERIOUS BUSINESS" graphic so much more true, and so much more depressing. Good job, humanity.

While you argue, I will scope out and dish out for a ticket to see Tom Waits blow this jackass out of the water, in every aspect. Sorry kids.

Anonymous (July 13, 2006)

Well, it's obvious on Springsteen's earlier albums that he was aping Dylan, but by albums like Born To Run and Born In The USA, it's obvious that his sound was his own.

Jesse (July 13, 2006)

Well, actually The Boss has been quoted saying that all he ever wanted was to be Bob Dylan, but stylistically he took more from Phil Specter. I actually use the same Dylan line to piss off other Boss fanatics.

Anonymous (July 13, 2006)

"Posted by danperrone on 2006-07-13 13:29:21

"All Springsteen did was rip off Dylan anyway"

WRONG

WRONG

WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG"

Thanks. I just tacked that on the end to get the exact response you gave, though I wanted it to come from Jesse. I don't really believe it, either. I know it ticks off fans of the boss, because it makes me mad anytime my bassist says that to me.

DiscoFucker (July 13, 2006)

Damn.....just found out his show tomorow at the Paradise already sold out.....this is an amazing album, I was really hoping to see the songs live.

ChokingVictim (July 13, 2006)

I like this a lot. I like it much more than "American Lesion"

adam (July 13, 2006)

"I didn't read much of this thread, but I have to squabble with you. The Greg-written songs on the album have sooo much Springsteen in them it isn't funny (They've got a ton of Young in 'em, too, but the Springsteen is definitely there. Probably a lot of McCartney/Harrison influence, too)."

I'd probably agree with you but we've proven that any discussion of the Boss on this site leads nowhere, so I'll leave it at that.

-adam

danperrone (July 13, 2006)

"All Springsteen did was rip off Dylan anyway"

WRONG

WRONG

WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG

Anonymous (July 13, 2006)

"...any discussion of Sprinsteen, Waits, Dylan, Williams or whoever is nice and all, and you folks are welcome to argue it `till you're blue in the face, but it really has nothing to do with this record. "

I didn't read much of this thread, but I have to squabble with you. The Greg-written songs on the album have sooo much Springsteen in them it isn't funny (They've got a ton of Young in 'em, too, but the Springsteen is definitely there. Probably a lot of McCartney/Harrison influence, too). I don't know if I'm agreeing or disagreeing with Jesse, as I haven't read that far, but I think that's a good thing.
All Springsteen did was rip off Dylan anyway.

Anonymous (July 13, 2006)

good work, jesse!

herm....

Jesse (July 13, 2006)

Dude, I honestly like that band and think that album is great regardless of whether or not my brother drums on it. If my bro left the band, I'd STILL like them. It's not the drummer that writes the songs or sings them. I honestly stand by my opinion that where most of the shit that's come out in the past two years is cyclical and boring, this album was something new and exciting.

And as far as saying I live in Chicago and listen to country music, I was answering two differnt queries - one saying I was living with my mom in suburbia, one questioning my ability to listen to country.

sickboi (July 13, 2006)

Wow, Jesse, you live downtown in one of the larger cities in America, and you listen to nothing but country? How ironic!

You lost pretty much all respect when you pulled that shitbag move and gave your brother's band a perfect (or near-perfect, I can't remember) score. I hope you drown in a cowboy hat full of whiskey and chewing tobacco vomit.

Jesse (July 13, 2006)

Thanks Dan.

And to clear up the mysteries -

I'm twenty one and I just graduated from collge and I live in downtown Chicago. Lately I've been listening almost exclusively to country. I don't have to be an "outlaw" to enjoy American music.

danperrone (July 13, 2006)

i for one think jesse is the man

could also be because he and i have never squabbled, but still

dude's a funny guy

ozmanx (July 13, 2006)

Not really a fan of BR but damn I sure do love this record.

Anonymous (July 13, 2006)

Jesse is an asshole, we all realized that long ago.

And stop talking country boy, your a suburbanite living with your mom (i presume the latter).

No Hank Williams afficinado. No outlaw.

Just a prententious post "punk" kid.

Anonymous (July 13, 2006)

Hey, look, I'm Jesse. I just got bested in an argument, so now I'm trying to make it look like I was trying to stir up shit.

jacknife737 (July 13, 2006)

The album itself isn't anything special, after only a first listen there are only a couple standout tracks.

and to the poster of this...

"Hey, I don't see Greg Graffin fighting for prison rights or doing any actual political work. Being smart and able to discuss your opinions doesn't make you worthwhile. It's your actions."

Words and writings influence others, and spread ideas. Go spraypaint an anarchy sign on your high school you impotent twat.

Anonymous (July 13, 2006)

(tim barry)

Anonymous (July 12, 2006)

Bleh. This album does nothing for me.

Jesse (July 12, 2006)

Man I love stirring up shit on the Internet.

Time to bow out and admit that as a rabble rouser, my job is done. To be honest, I didn't even listen to this record yet, I was just bored. Congrats to everyone who saw it fit to make my dream of making this a Springsteen thread come true!

Best wishes,
Your most hated poster,

Jesse

danperrone (July 12, 2006)

baby we were born to argue on the internet

Fuzzy (July 12, 2006)

Hey, I don't see Greg Graffin fighting for prison rights or doing any actual political work. Being smart and able to discuss your opinions doesn't make you worthwhile. It's your actions.
Just because I love disagreeing with Jesse, how is this not activism? One of the biggest part that modern activists miss is that sometimes you actually have to talk to people. It's kind of frutrating that people don't consider activating kids to think about these issues activism, because it most definitely is.

I don't even like Bad Religion and I still think they are far more of an activist band than most of the shit most people (including yourself) praise.

joeg (July 12, 2006)

Jesse, you first shit on Greg because he‚??s "rich" but sickboi correctly pointed out so was Johnny Cash. Then Greg doesn‚??t do enough (or any as you are so sure of) political activism but you recuse Hank Williams who drunk himself to death so perhaps his punk worthiness exceeds Greg's in other areas. You do royally suck at the ‚??thinking before typing‚?? thing. And on that note, this has turned into a who's more punk rock discussion and I feel dirty already.

retistictumblweed (July 12, 2006)

"The"

T-H-E

not T-E-H

goddamned fucking internet ruins everything.

adam (July 12, 2006)

Well you folks successfully derailed any actual conversation on this record. As the high and mighty reviewer I'll chime in and say that while this record hits on some roots Americana southern-rock style stuff, it's really more in the vein of Neil Young or the Band or Graham Parsons.., and that's really only half the record since the rest is the old-timey folk stuff.

...any discussion of Sprinsteen, Waits, Dylan, Williams or whoever is nice and all, and you folks are welcome to argue it `till you're blue in the face, but it really has nothing to do with this record.

Since he's doing faithful covers of all these pre-1940s folk standards I think it's pretty clear that Graffin's not even trying to do something that's in the same ballpark as what a lot of you are trying to compare it to.

-adam

Jesse (July 12, 2006)

Hey, I don't see Greg Graffin fighting for prison rights or doing any actual political work. Being smart and able to discuss your opinions doesn't make you worthwhile. It's your actions.

Discounting Hank Williams, who was just a poor old bastard who drank himself to death with all the money he made.

Anonymous (July 12, 2006)

Webcam.

EyesLikeBombs (July 12, 2006)

When was the last time Jesse didn't name-drop Hank Williams, or whatever band his brother is in?

Anonymous (July 12, 2006)

I hate you all.

danperrone (July 12, 2006)

how in the freaking hell are you gonna talk shit about springsteen

i'm so mad i got in this discussion late

as for rkl who posted the 57 channels lyrics...human touch / lucky town era bruce doesn't count

sickboi (July 12, 2006)

Johnny Cash and Hank Williams will forever be more punk rock than this rich wanker.

Riiiiight. Cause Johnny Cash was soooo broke.

Do you ever think before you speak/type something?

Jesse (July 12, 2006)

if u r teh faget you woul dlove this alubm

(country)

U R TEH BIGEST GAY EVAR FAGET HOMO

And in true response to this man's post:

Johnny Cash and Hank Williams will forever be more punk rock than this rich wanker.

kill_fftl (July 11, 2006)

if you like punk dont buy this album it sucks

(country)

Anonymous (July 11, 2006)

tim barry>the boss>greg graffin

Anonymous (July 11, 2006)

The webcam fiasco was bullshit. Anyway, this is truly a great album. I say for his next one he teams up with Mike Ness. Anyone?

If Greg Graffin and Mike Ness recorded an album together, the world would be unable to contain the sheer awesomeness. We would all be destroyed by teh punx rawx.

opies (July 11, 2006)

The webcam fiasco was bullshit. Anyway, this is truly a great album. I say for his next one he teams up with Mike Ness. Anyone?

R3venge_Therapy (July 11, 2006)

Basically, Greg Graffin was masturbating on a webcam to an underage female fan.

Incorrect. She was of age, so no harm done.

And all this talk of comparisons to The Boss and bullshit is really fucking dumb, but I expect no less on here. The man wanted to pay tribute to folk music and write some songs, fucking get over it. If you don't like it, don't listen to it, and just stop crying about it. I don't like some of these songs that much, but you know what? Who the fuck cares? I won't listen to it. Did Greg Graffin ever come out and state that he was going to write a folk album that would put every other modern folk album to shame? Nope. That said, if an artist doesn't talk themselves up about what their next endeavor is, I don't see why anyone should bitch and moan when they don't like it.

the_other_scott (July 11, 2006)

i love tom waits, but i can see how people don't.

i dig the boss, but i can see how people find him cheesy.

i love bad religion, but i can't see how people can dig this.

dear dr. graffin,

in sixth grade i sang along to your songs and had no idea what they meant. now i have a college degree and i only sort of understand what you're talking about. either way, stick to punk rock and professing. you've excelled in your career the way most people only dream of. be happy with that. but this shit is just not that great

gladimnotemo (July 11, 2006)

Feeding, I normally agree with you, but trashing Tom Waits with Springsteen and this clown is not cool.

He did get in a fight with a member of the Weirdos...how can you argue against that?

feeeding5000 (July 11, 2006)

Basically, Greg Graffin was masturbating on a webcam to an underage female fan.

Cheesetits (July 11, 2006)

Alright, I keep seeing these Greg Graffin sex jokes for the past few months, but I totally missed what happened. Someone enlighten me, once and for all?

iconoclast (July 11, 2006)

Score is for Greg Graffin's carreer (minus No Substance....)

seriously? there are some damn good tracks on said album.
fucking in so many ways. thats pure genius! there's quite a few other gems too.

different strokes..eh?

DarrenMcLeod (July 11, 2006)

I can't believe the trash talking of Springsteen. The man is a legend, and there's a reason for it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KngiJUNdsu0&search=springst een

feeeding5000 (July 11, 2006)

Why is everyone talking about Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits? I seriously think that Tom Waits should front a death metal band. I mean, if there are hundreds of long-haired satan-worshippers singing like cookie monster, why not have the original "C is for Cookie"-voiced singer-songwriter do it?

Anonymous (July 11, 2006)

I listened to a track or two from this and wasn't impressed. There's better folk out there, even modern folk.

I love Bad Religion, but giv eme Billy Bragg anyday ove Graffin's solo effort.

Anonymous (July 11, 2006)

Heard the stream yesterday... sounds really good. I can't get "Talk About Suffering" out of my head. Score is for Greg Graffin's carreer (minus No Substance and half of the New America).

yayforapathy

gladimnotemo (July 11, 2006)

Yawn.

Anonymous (July 11, 2006)

score is for the world/inferno friendship society

rkl (July 11, 2006)

Bruce Springsteen - 57 Channels(and nothin' on)
I bought a bourgeois house in the Hollywood hills
With a truckload of hundred thousand dollar bills
Man came by to hook up my cable TV
We settled in for the night my baby and me
We switched 'round and 'round 'til half-past dawn
There was fifty-seven channels and nothin' on

Well now home entertainment was my baby's wish
So I hopped into town for a satellite dish
I tied it to the top of my Japanese car
I came home and I pointed it out into the stars
A message came back from the great beyond
There's fifty-seven channels and nothin' on

Well we might'a made some friends with some billionaires
We might'a got all nice and friendly
If we'd made it upstairs
All I got was a note that said "Bye-bye John
Our love is fifty-seven channels and nothin' on"

So I bought a .44 magnum it was solid steel cast
And in the blessed name of Elvis well I just let it blast
'Til my TV lay in pieces there at my feet
And they busted me for disturbin' the almighty peace
Judge said "What you got in your defense son?"
"Fifty-seven channels and nothin' on"
I can see by your eyes friend you're just about gone
Fifty-seven channels and nothin' on...

is springsteen a bad lyricist?
i dont know, everyone writes clunkers. hell, theyre all i write and somehow i get to keep persisting.

just trying to get the point across that not all of his songs are great.

score is for the dubya campaign trying to use born in the usa as their campaign theme

Dante3000 (July 11, 2006)

almost as good as the new world inferno... almost
Shit, that album is so good it should be illegal in most states. It has a few dragers but it's 15 songs so I can accept one or two less than face meltingly good songs.
However, "So Long to the Circus" may be the greatest album closer in the history of mankind (or Triple H).
-Dante

Anonymous (July 11, 2006)

almost as good as the new world inferno... almost

chickswithdicks (July 11, 2006)

when bruce dies and they make a movie about his life he'll be popular, just like it did for johnny cash (who covered bruce on American V oddly enough).

Anonymous (July 11, 2006)

The Boss fucking sucks, get over it. Just because he has had a long career in music doesn't mean his music is automatically worthy of a thousand blowjobs.

drewcifer (July 11, 2006)

"Haha, Springsteen is a fucking joke. I used to like [i]Born in the USA[/i] a lot when I was, like, six or seven years old. But, let's be honest, all he's got to offer is mediocre radio fodder and terrible, generic lyrics. I can't believe that an elitist like Jesse admits to listening to Springsteen. Come on!"

Oh christ where to begin, how about :

Like any of you are going to be baited into defending The God Damn Boss from some kid on the internet
or
Sorry you missed out on pretty much all of his thirty year career pal, at least your parents bought one good record.
or
Oh man it's one of those guys with no discernable taste in music, who's always worried he's getting tricked into liking something. Wait give him a second he's totally gonna say something like "Okay, you guys actually enjoy tom waits? seriously? He sounds like a bullfrog come on!" oh man any second now... wait..... wait....

sickboi (July 11, 2006)

I bet you fuckers don't know where Bruce got his start? It wasn't the Jersey Shore....

Three letters:

R V A.

BrandonSideleau (July 11, 2006)

Bob Dylan is a BRILLIANT song writer......Bruce Springsteen is a good song WRITER but his music sucks, and that makes all the difference. And, as for Greg Graffin, his a great song writer and I enjoyed a lot of his output with Bad Religion and his first solo album is good...but I've only heard 1 or 2 songs from this and it's not grabbing me. Maybe I'll have to listen to the whole thing.

Anonymous (July 11, 2006)

umm no

Inspection12e (July 11, 2006)

Kind of boring after 3-4 listens. I'll give it some more time.

chickswithdicks (July 11, 2006)

just because your dad likes bruce springsteen, doesn't mean you shouldn't.

jamespastepunk (July 11, 2006)

I only know Klosterman's bitching about how there are no Lester Bangs of video games. I got everything I need to know about Klosterman there. That is to say he's an idiot that doesn't understand the medium and probably never will.

And he's also never heard of Penny-Arcade, eiether.

Anonymous (July 11, 2006)

so when's the tim barry solo album coming out?

Fuzzy (July 11, 2006)

I don't think anyone is claiming that what Graffin is doing here is groundbreakingly original. However, it long with The Seeger Sessions are two of the best folk/roots music albums released this year (I'd include Neko Case and Jolie HOlland in there too).

And people attempting to diss the Boss are..well misguided is the nice way to put it.

Jesse (July 11, 2006)

Klosterman's a fat, wannabe musician loser. He's just jealous (like all music critics) that he's not as good as the Boss. Those lyrics are brilliant. The Boss writes all his stories in character - not one is really sung by Bruce Springsteen, just the characters he's made up. There's no better phrasing of a workingman trying to express his feelings towards Wendy.

Mute98 (July 11, 2006)

this album is a pile of shit

Cos (July 11, 2006)

"Wendy let me in, I wanna be your friend
I want to guard your dreams and visions
Just wrap your legs 'round these velvet rims
And strap your hands across my engines"


I'm glad you included Born to Run, because as Chuck Klosterman pointed out, its as least as funny as anything Tenacious D wrote except Springsteen is trying to deep. I'm not saying the Boss don't have moments of genius, but Born To Run isn't one of them, lyrically speaking.

"Anything too stupid to be said is sung"--Voltaire

--Cos

Anonymous (July 11, 2006)

I'd be more interested in the Greg Graffin Sex Tape.

StormShadow (July 11, 2006)

This album reminds me of Frank Black's "Honeycomb" from last year. Lots of hype when it came out, but nobody gives a damn about it today. I like some of Greg's originals, but after hearing a stream of the full album it just sounds really dull and lumbering. Unless someone can change my mind, this CD has gone from a must-buy to a don't-buy.

chickswithdicks (July 11, 2006)

i think this Jesse character is the first person whos comment i've ever agreed with on this website in 6 years.

Jesse (July 11, 2006)

Let's let people decide for themselves if the Boss is a bad lyricist.

Born to Run

In the day we sweat it out in the streets of a runaway American dream
At night we ride through mansions of glory in suicide machines
Sprung from cages out on highway 9
Chrome wheeled, fuel injected
And steppin' out over the line
Baby this town rips the bones from your back
It's a death trap, it's a suicide rap
We gotta get out while we're young
'Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run
Yes girl we were

Wendy let me in, I wanna be your friend
I want to guard your dreams and visions
Just wrap your legs 'round these velvet rims
And strap your hands across my engines
Together we could break this trap
We'll run till we drop, baby we'll never go back
Will you walk with me out on the wire
'Cause baby I'm just a scared and lonely rider
But I gotta know how it feels
I want to know if love is wild
Girl I want to know if love is real
Oh can you show me

Beyond the Palace hemi-powered drones scream down the boulevard
The girls comb their hair in rear-view mirrors
And the boys try to look so hard
The amusement park rises bold and stark
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist
I wanna die with you Wendy on the streets tonight
In an everlasting kiss

The highway's jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive
Everybody's out on the run tonight but there's no place left to hide
Together, Wendy, we can live with the sadness
I'll love you with all the madness in my soul
Someday girl I don't know when we're gonna get to that place
Where we really want to go and we'll walk in the sun
But till then tramps like us baby we were born to run

Straight Time

Got out of prison back in '86 and I found me a wife
Walked the clean and narrow
just tryin' to stay out and stay alive
Got a job at the rendering factory, it ain't gonna make me rich
In the darkness before dinner comes
Sometimes I can feel the it
I got a cold mind to go tripping across that thin line
I'm sick of doin straight time

My uncles at the evenin' table makes his living runnin' hot cars
Slips me a hundred dollar bill, says
"Charlie, you best remember who your friend are."
I got a cold mind to go tripping across that thin line
I ain't makin' straight time

Eight years in, it feels like you're gonna die
But you get used to anything
Sooner or later it becomes your life

Kitchen floor in the evening, tossin' my little babies high
Mary's smilin', but she watches me out of the corner of her eye
Seems you can't get any more than half free
I step out onto the front porch, and suck the cold air deep inside of me
Got a cold mind to go tripping cross that thin line
I'm sick of doin' straight time

In the basement, huntin' gun and a hacksaw
Sip a beer, and thirteen inches of barrel drop to the floor

Come home in the evening, can't get the smell from my hands
Lay my head down on the pillow
And, go driftin' off into foreign lands

chickswithdicks (July 11, 2006)

"Haha, Springsteen is a fucking joke. I used to like [i]Born in the USA[/i] a lot when I was, like, six or seven years old. But, let's be honest, all he's got to offer is mediocre radio fodder and terrible, generic lyrics. I can't believe that an elitist like Jesse admits to listening to Springsteen. Come on!"

what the fuck are you talking about? have you the slightest clue? bruce springsteen has better lyrics than anything written by 95% of punk rock bands. you're probably one of the millions who hear born in the usa and think its a july 4th anthem.

Go check out Born To Run and find me another musician in their early 20's who could produce a record of that caliber.

AnEpicProblem (July 11, 2006)

Haha, Springsteen is a fucking joke. I used to like [i]Born in the USA[/i] a lot when I was, like, six or seven years old. But, let's be honest, all he's got to offer is mediocre radio fodder and terrible, generic lyrics. I can't believe that an elitist like Jesse admits to listening to Springsteen. Come on!

AnEpicProblem (July 11, 2006)

Danielson is way better than this. Never cared for Bad Religion/Greg Graffin in the first place.

Jesse (July 11, 2006)

Ehem.

From what I've heard online, it sounds like a wannabe Springsteen backed by the Weakerthans. Now, I'm not saying that's a bad thing, because, well, it could get more kids into the Boss. But by no means is what Graffin doing here unique.

What scares me is that people will think it is. What Graffin is doing is what Dylan based his career off of, and what Springsteen returns to every few albums, starting with Nebraska, then Ghost of Tom Joad, Devils and Dust, and most recently, the Seeger Sessions, which is actually a return to roots music, because the Boss is covering traditional songs that Seeger made famous (none were actually penned by Pete).

So go out, enjoy this, then go buy Nebraska and Devils and Dust and the Ghost of Tom Joad.

chickswithdicks (July 11, 2006)

did anyone else have to pay out the ass for this album?

ChokingVictim (July 11, 2006)

I haven't heard anything off of this, but I liked his first solo album. Guess I have to head down to the store to pick this, Dead To Me, and Thom Yorke's solo debut up today.

Scruffy (July 11, 2006)

The only problem is there aren't enough originals. Old-timey songs can be cool, but most of them sound pretty similar, and they can drag on too long without choruses. The originals here are fantastic, and I wish that we'd have more space devoted to Greg's songs, as that would allow him to present more dynamics from his songs. Basically, there're no originals on here as stark as the piano version of "Cease" or as wonderfully folktastic as "The Fault Line". Not a big deal, but it would've made this CD awesome instead of just great.

Dante3000 (July 11, 2006)

I just feel that last line should have been capped off by "bitches". But I'm a hack. This record is really fucking good. Stuff like "Don't Be Afraid to Run" really sounds like this is just a solo album from the guy in Bad Religion (probably why it was streamed first) but songs like "Talk about Suffering" sound like an entirely seperate, folkier (?) artist.
Great, great album.
-Dante

baseball (July 11, 2006)

only heard a couple songs, but i loved them

might have to spring for this and Dead To Me this week

and i'm seeing The Weakerthans for the first time tonight!!!

Anonymous (July 11, 2006)

"willie more"? come on..

donovanjames (July 11, 2006)

That was a good goddamn review. Well Done!

boba_fett (July 11, 2006)

ive never been a fan of bad religion, but this looks pretty interesting.

Badger_Legion (July 11, 2006)

I Liked American Lesion better, but this isn't bad. Just too many folk standards and not enough Greg originals.

Cos (July 11, 2006)

I can say without reservation I hated his first solo disc. Here's hoping this one's better
--Cos

DarrenMcLeod (July 11, 2006)

I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about it. At times, I love it, but at other times, I find it too traditional for my liking and I get tired of some songs that seem to drag on. It's going to take a few more listens before I can figure out where exactly I stand.

joeg (July 11, 2006)

I didn't like this at first but after a 2nd listen, I can see this being one of my favorites so far this year. Nice review.

Anonymous (July 11, 2006)

shite.

tim barry is more for reals than this commie.

MrStylson (July 11, 2006)

This album leaves me pretty speechless listening to it. It's just so fascinating here.

Like the review said, this album ties a lot of loose ends together in music, as far as I'm concerned.

Anonymous (July 11, 2006)

more like Greg Whackin' amiright?

fallingupwards84 (July 11, 2006)

which ones are originals and which ones aren't?

maverick (July 11, 2006)

Whoops, forgot my score.

-Scott

maverick (July 11, 2006)

The first time I listened to this record, I couldn't stand it, and I wasn't even sure why. I then revisited it a week or so later, and now, I can't get it out of my CD player (or iTunes playlist; whatever). An absolutely beautiful folk record that is built for Sunday morning listens.

-Scott

MikeStupid (July 11, 2006)

This managed to exceed my unrealistically high expectations. Well done.

Fuzzy (July 11, 2006)

We both wrote reviews, I gave the honor (or honour as he would say) to the canuck. For posterity's sake, here mine as well:

My latent love of American roots music has blossomed and soared in recent years. Thankfully, the independent music scene appears to have shared my secret love and has produced a glut of bands performing roots-inspired music; and while some see this as an unfortunate trend, the realization that you can create a blazing punk rock song by throwing some distortion and forbidden beat drums behind nearly any song from the likes of Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan or Woody Guthrie has led me to explore the depths of the past, digging through my parents tapes to find those artists which are past that capture my imagination.

And then Greg Graffin has to write an album that takes me out of the tape bins and into the present. In what many will consider a sequel to his American Lesion project, Cold As The Clay delivers an honest, heartfelt collection of classics and originals that feel as at home in my small apartment in San Francisco as they would in my parents' old VW van or on the porch of our house in West Virginia. Many, including myself, expected his duets on this album with vocalist Jolie Holland to result in a mainly female fronted affair, but instead gives us a beautiful, harmonious melding of Graffin's deep and rough around the edges moan with Holland's smooth as silk vocal delivery.

While our beloved neighbors to the North, the Weakerthans, make an appearance on the album as Graffin's backdrop on his originals, this is not simply Graffin taking John K's place. Instead, Graffin and friends write songs calling to mind the folk heroes of the past, bringing Neil Young through the vocals most often and many varying shades of my parents' broken stereo that lulled me to sleep on twelve-hour cartrips in my youth. The other half of the album features mostly classic songs retooled by Graffin and his backing group of Joe Wack, Chris Berry and David Bragger. While the two halves of the album are told by completely different arrangements of musicians, partner-in-crime Brett Guerewitz has blended them together seamlessly to present a complete document for the listener.

While Graffin hasn't rewritten the book on American folk music, he definitely has added a worthy chapter to it. As a unabashed non-fan of Bad Religion, I went into this skeptical to say the least, and came out with a burgeoning desire to see this songs performed in a live setting, be it in a tasteful club, a dirty basement or a sunny park. While most will be snapping this up and praising it due to it's punk rock pedigree, they'll be missing the true charm of this album: it ignores the expectations that come with being "Greg Graffin of Bad Religion" and embraces the desires and needs of "Greg Graffin the Musician."

kingofsuck (July 11, 2006)

Good review and album.

fallingupwards84 (July 11, 2006)

album of the year, in my opinion

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