(Southern Domestic Records, out Fri 30 November 2018)
This album cracks open demanding to be listened to. Guitar jangles echo from somewhere on the Lou Reed/Iggy Pop axis. But there’s no one else this album could belong to: Amy Rigby. Bob Dylan with a better voice. Harry Nilsson with an edge. Comparisons to yesteryear are easy and justifiable but this album is all Amy all now. The Old Guys is her first solo album in a dozen years but it is clear Rigby has been doing anything but languishing. Instead this album seems as if it has been perfected over a decade.
From [email protected] to [email protected] is a bold title for a first track but a great, paced, enjoyable opener. The lyrics sear as we imagine novelist Philip Roth quietly seething, watching Bob Dylan accept the Nobel Prize he’s always wanted. Are We Still There Yet is a clear album highlight. From there we move from high to high; from the chilled out reflections of Back to Amarillo to the confident strides of a semi-nomadic life on the music scene, Playing Pittsburgh. Leslie is the track where Rigby’s partner/producer and long-time collaborator Wreckless Eric shows off his production talent. Rigby’s lyrics and Eric’s production is a formidable partnership.
The Old Guys is the real crux of the album. “I’m not like the old guys, cause I’m the spawn of old guys”. What more needs said? Rigby has clearly done her mythical fathers proud. The guitars soar, the lyrics paint and Rigby serenades the past and future.
On The Barricade is a snappy pissed-off ode and New Sheriff examines todays silver screen heroes: Tony Soprano, Walter White etc. Robert Altman is a sweet yet never sickly ode to the maverick director. Rarely does a tribute song ever feel like it authentically captures the individual but it’s hard to imagine the Nashville director not raising a smile at this soulful number.
Slow Burner creeps on by but exhibits some of Rigby’s most pointed lyrics. Bob is a song about Rigby’s friend/inspiration Bob Dylan but primarily a showcase of her sweetness and casual humour.
One Off picks the pace of the album back up. A rocking song with thumping drums and simple inspiring lyrics. Time to head out, not wrapped in sickly faux antiquity but lean, old-fashioned music. This is an album nostalgic but never self-indulgent. Moulded by authenticity and experience. A living breathing postcard drafted by the past.