“Dave Jordan sings true songs about love, heartbreak, loneliness, shrimp, and pie.” So says his website, in the way only a native New Orleans musician would describe his new joint. But it also fits Bring Back Red Raspberry just fine: this former bassist for local funk demigods Juice surprised everyone a few years ago with his acoustic solo debut, the Americana pastiche These Old Boots, and this follow up, while more upbeat, remains just as loveably ragged.
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The late great Gram Parsons gets name checked a lot when folks talk about that first album, but Jordan’s wittily observant romantic stance is more like a rustic, Cajun Paul Westerberg, mixed with a Springsteenian sense of wordplay. “She’s a good one to get over the other one.” “True love was too good to be true. At least it was for you.” “I’ll tell you what you wanna know, and baby, you can act like you don’t care.” The mix is an intoxicating one if you like music that’s flippant on top and painful underneath.
Backed by the kind of all-star ensemble of friends any local vet could wish for, including members of Johnny Sketch’s and Lynn Drury’s bands, plus guest shots by Anders Osborne and Joe Krown, Jordan’s quietly desperate landscapes come off as deceptively offhand The Basement Tapes or what the Stones used to do to country. (Taking the lion’s share of the solos, violinist Harry Hardin is the album’s secret weapon.) In the end it’s the food that sits too heavy, the shrimp and pie songs being pretty tired dirty jokes, but love, heartbreak, and loneliness? Spot on.