The Edge of the World

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
On Private Radio, his first album, Billy Bob Thornton and his co-collaborator Marty Stuart crafted a quirky, off-kilter series of haunting songs/stories that walked around country music like it was the middle of the night. The result was a poetic and moving recording filled with expressionistic images and characters who could have come from Sling Blade. Not so with Edge of the World. Thornton is less a poet here than a guy who wants to write and sing rock & roll songs. And he does it in spades. This is the real working-class hero album. There is no rebellious street corner poet here informing listeners of the hidden greater meaning in broken narratives of everyday life ...
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AUDIO CD Very Good 060768462823 U.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
On Private Radio, his first album, Billy Bob Thornton and his co-collaborator Marty Stuart crafted a quirky, off-kilter series of haunting songs/stories that walked around country music like it was the middle of the night. The result was a poetic and moving recording filled with expressionistic images and characters who could have come from Sling Blade. Not so with Edge of the World. Thornton is less a poet here than a guy who wants to write and sing rock & roll songs. And he does it in spades. This is the real working-class hero album. There is no rebellious street corner poet here informing listeners of the hidden greater meaning in broken narratives of everyday life with elegant language and vulnerable hooks and melodies. Nope. This is a balls-out rock & roll record where Thornton takes off the gloves; it could have been recorded by the sheriff Darl, the character he plays in The Badge. In songs like "Emily," "Everybody Lies," and "Island Avenue," Thornton is the unredeemed side of Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp. Here's the guy who is trying to learn to write songs and gets to record them. He talks plenty of garbage, but it all feels true rather than, as in the case of the aforementioned songwriters, an archetype for truth. He's not interested in convincing the listener of anything. These songs are small truths, they reflect some picture Thornton has decided is worth etching into his psyche and coming up with a way of expressing: which is rollicking, freewheeling, full of a biker's hidden human charm and a reluctant, Monday through Friday garage mechanic's wild heart on a lonely Saturday night. On these sides, Thornton relies on his road band with the requisite appearances by special guests. The late Warren Zevon appears on "The Desperate One," the most poignant song on the record, where Thornton's voice spits his anger through a rambling, anthemic country-rock wall of noise that the Eagles tried many times to construct but could never let go enough to pull off. Daniel Lanois, Chely Wright, David Briggs, and Marty Stuart are also present in strategic places, such as on "Savior," where Lanois' trademark atmospheric approach to playing the steel guitar puts the message of the tune in the blood of the listener. The chunky organ playing of Zevon is a stark contrast to Lanois' guitars on "Midnight Train." On "To the End of Time," a broken and edgy love song near the end of the album, Mickey Raphael and Stuart turn in tough, bluesy performances to root the track in some obsessive bloodline of desire never extinguished. The only thing that doesn't work all the way here is the overly lush cover of Fred Neil's "Everybody's Talking," but even this -- with its organs, twanging Telecasters, and strings -- is compelling for its shambolic treatment. This record isn't a train wreck, but it is a messy living room on Sunday morning after a haphazard party the evening before. It feels real, dirty, overly ambitious, and necessary for anybody who enjoys the sound of rock & roll as a soundtrack to life rather than as an artistic concept.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/23/2003
  • Label: Sanctuary Records
  • UPC: 060768462823
  • Catalog Number: 84628

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Billy Bob Thornton Primary Artist, Drums, Vocals, Background Vocals
Marty Stuart Acoustic Guitar, Guitar
Chris Thomas Bass
Joe Walsh Electric Guitar
Mike Finnigan Organ, Piano
Tommy Shaw Acoustic Guitar, Background Vocals, Guitar (12 String Acoustic)
Mickey Raphael Harp
Ted Andreadis Organ
Barry Beckett Organ
Jim Cox Piano
Brad Davis Acoustic Guitar, Guitar, Electric Guitar, Rhythm Guitar
Bob Glaub Bass
Daniel Lanois Bass, Guitar, Percussion, Pedal Steel Guitar, Electric Guitar, Sitar, Omnichord
Kipp Lennon Background Vocals
Mark Lennon Background Vocals
Michael Lennon Background Vocals
Randy Mitchell Organ, Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Guitar, Electric Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Harmonium, 12-string Guitar, Noise, Slide Guitar, bass pedals, Guitar (12 String Acoustic)
Lance Morrison Bass
Larry Paxton Bass
Fred Tackett Guitar
Lee Thornburg Horn
David Woodford Horn
Chely Wright Vocals, Background Vocals
Warren Zevon Organ, Vocals, Rap
Matt Laug Percussion, Drums
Dave Smith Bass, Vocals, Background Vocals
Jim Mitchell Acoustic Guitar
Greg Stocki Drums
Steve Arnold Bass
James Lott Vocals, Background Vocals
Felicia Collins Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Vocals, Background Vocals, 12-string Guitar
Mica Roberts Background Vocals
Pete Sully Drums, Vocals, Background Vocals
James "Jockey" Young Background Vocals
Mike Shipp Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals, Background Vocals
Clark Stacer Bass
Aaron Embry Organ
David Briggs Organ
Gary Ferguson Drums
Technical Credits
Marty Stuart Producer
Fred Neil Composer
Tracy Chapman Composer
Chad Brown Engineer
Jim Cox String Arrangements
Brad Davis Composer
Joe Gastwirt Mastering
Daniel Lanois Producer
Randy Mitchell Composer, Engineer, Digital Editing
Lee Thornburg Horn Arrangements
Marty Stewart Composer
Jim Mitchell Composer, Producer, Engineer
James Lott Engineer
Billy Bob Thornton Composer, Producer
Leslie Richter Engineer
Andrew Samuels Engineer
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