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Maybe Lambchop's name rings a bell for you, and maybe its mention even has you remembering something about quirky, lavishly orchestrated country music. But pay attention, because if that's all you know, you're missing out on the most crucial data. Kurt Wagner. Memorize that name. Years from now, you'll see it pop up in tomes on underrecognized musical geniuses of the late-20th/early-21st century. Wagner is the man behind Lambchop's wonderfully original blend of Bacharachian pop and well-appointed Music City country. With a backing band of 13 musicians for his fifth album under the Lambchop moniker, Wagner continues to rearrange those forms into something that taps into what makes them enduring, yet quietly subverts their sacrosanct rules. Often he does that with his wry lyrics, which reflect a dark cynicism similar to the one plied by fellow pomo country gent (and occasional musical cohort) Vic Chesnutt. "The guy on the cross is holier than I," he croaks, adding, "but then again, he's made from plastic." What at first seems like a rousing inspirational, "Up with People" applies a chorus of gospel singers, all pep and handclaps, to the line, "We are screwing up our lives today." On "What Else Could It Be?" and "You Masculine You," he sings in a falsetto that would be almost Prince-like, if it weren't so deliberately overwrought. NIXON doesn't boldly go where no Lambchop record has gone before, but it finds Wagner continuing to push ever farther away -- no matter how gradually -- from the traditions that inform his music. And it still looks pretty adventurous from here.
Performance CreditsLambchop Primary Artist
Ken Coomer Percussion
Nashville String Machine Strings
Mark Nevers Guitar,Electric Guitar
Matt Swanson Bass Guitar
Kurt Wagner Guitar,Vocals,Juno
Alex McManus Electric Guitar
Paula James Booker Electric Guitar
Tony Crow Piano
Paul Niehaus Pedal Steel Guitar,Vocals,Fender Telecaster
Deanna Varagona Baritone Saxophone,Vocals,Background Vocals
Allen Lowrey Drums
Dennis Cronin Trumpet,Cornet,Vocals,Background Vocals
Jonathan Marx Trumpet,Vocals,Background Vocals
John Delworth Piano,Hammond Organ,Juno,Hammond Synth
Technical CreditsLloyd Barry Arranger,String Arrangements
Mark Nevers Producer,Engineer
Kurt Wagner Producer
Wayne White Cover Art,Cover Painting
Brian Miles Engineer
Dennis Cronin Engineer