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Till Midnight
     

Till Midnight

by Chuck Ragan
 

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Since 2007's Los Feliz, singer/songwriter Chuck Ragan has established a reputation for delivering intimate, lonesome tunes as a primarily acoustic troubadour -- even when backed by a band. Till Midnight is a rock & roll changeup. Here the singer/songwriter is backed by his longstanding backing group, the Camaraderie. He

Overview

Since 2007's Los Feliz, singer/songwriter Chuck Ragan has established a reputation for delivering intimate, lonesome tunes as a primarily acoustic troubadour -- even when backed by a band. Till Midnight is a rock & roll changeup. Here the singer/songwriter is backed by his longstanding backing group, the Camaraderie. He also gets some help from producer Christopher Thorn, Rami Jaffee, and a handful of backing vocalists. Hope, faith, the desire for community and deeply connected relationships link these tunes thematically. Musically, Ragan's inspirational sources are self evident -- perhaps too much so. One can readily hear Bruce Springsteen's anthemic, hooky choruses in songs such as "Vagabond" and "Non Typical" -- the latter like something off The Seeger Sessions with mostly electric instruments save for Jon Gaunt's wailing fiddle. In "Bedroll Lullaby," the same fiddle approximates the Celtic soul of Dexys Midnight Runners more than it does the Irish rock of Flogging Molly, and weds Americana rock to folk tradition. "Gave My Heart Out" recalls Willie Nile's melodic sensibility and streetwise attack with different instrumental colors. Frantic acoustic guitars, snare, whining pedal steel and fiddle drive "Revved," but there's so much Springsteen in the melody and stacked vocal harmonies that the only trace of Ragan remains in his heart-on-his-sleeve delivery. "Wake with You" is a lovely, lilting country song whose intro suggests Neil Young's "Love Is a Rose," though its melody is pure Ragan. The elegant arco bass and pedal steel interplay counter his ragged vocal. "Whistleblowers Song" has an urgent minor-key Celtic rock attack and contains some of the set's finest lyrics. The best is saved for last in "For All We Care." It commences with a fingerpicked acoustic guitar, graceful bowed upright bass, and pedal steel, which help to erect an atmospheric platform. They build gradually until fiddle, electric guitars, and drums rush in and it erupts with a backing chorus buoying Ragan. Despite using his influences too liberally, Till Midnight is a strong set. There are few recordings with so much seasoned, lived-in optimism at their core. Ragan's insightful writing lends itself to both anthems and love songs, revealing the singer/songwriter's maturity and savvy. He just needs to trust his vision more.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/25/2014
Label:
Side One Dummy
UPC:
0603967153828
catalogNumber:
71538
Rank:
20617

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Chuck Ragan   Primary Artist,Guitar,Piano,Harp,Vocals
Rami Jaffee   Organ,Glockenspiel
Chad Price   Background Vocals
Christopher Thorn   Dobro,Piano,Electric Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar
Jon Snodgrass   Background Vocals
Dave Hause   Background Vocals
Ben Nichols   Background Vocals
Jon Gaunt   Fiddle
Todd Beene   Percussion,Pedal Steel Guitar,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals
Jenny O.   Background Vocals
Joe Ginsberg   Electric Bass,Background Vocals,Upright Bass
David Hidalgo   Drums,Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Christopher Thorn   Producer,Engineer
Chuck Ragan   Arranger,Composer,Lyricist
Todd Beene   Composer
Camaraderie   Arranger
Joe Ginsberg   Composer
Joshua Stuebe   Engineer

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