Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Music
cover art

Allen Thompson

26 Years

(Roofbeam; US: 3 Aug 2009; UK: 3 Aug 2009)

Allen Thompson’s third full-length is a step forward for the Virginia-based singer-songwriter, as he effectively winds things back to simpler song structures played by an entirely acoustic band. The result, 26 Years, is a tight ten-song album of gospel-flavored, back-porch tunes, the best of which is the tambourine-and-handclaps opener “Forgive Me”. The song establishes the record’s theme of redemption, perseverence, and homecoming, articulated most clearly on “26:1”:  “Doubt surrounds the road you’ve taken / You fell down, but brother you ain’t breakin’”. Thompson steps up to the mic like he means it, although he’s guilty of over-emoting now and then, and while his melodies are pleasant and breezy, by the end of the album, he’s recycling some.


The album is a solid Americana effort, one made much better thanks to the dobro playing of Josh Matheny, who appears to be a rising star on that instrument. Matheny’s work on “Virginia” (the state, not a girl) is lovely, and other players, namely Charlie Worsham on banjo and mandolin, add tasteful dressing to the mid-temp cheating song “Lyin’”, another peak moment. Thompson goes for easy rhymes most of the time but sings these songs of the heart with the kind of conviction that will win you over on this unassuming but likable release.

Rating:

Steve Leftridge has written about music, film, and books for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, No Depression, and PlaybackSTL. He holds an MA in literature from the University of Missouri, for whom he is an adjunct teacher, and he's been teaching high school English and film in St. Louis since 1998. Follow at SteveLeftridge@Twitter.com.


Media
discussion by

Comments
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.