Bo Ramsey is best known to some as a guitar force on Lucinda Williams’ Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. That’s stellar work, to be sure, as is his work for artists like Greg Brown, Pieta Brown, the Pines, and Iris Dement. However, Ramsey’s solo work is worthy of notice as well, showcasing a rootsy artist with a very clear identity. When he wants to, Ramsey can sound uncannily like Tom Petty, as he does here on uptempo tracks like “Fragile”, “Same For You”, and the ringing “And I Wonder”, but that’s only half of Ramsey’s sound. Fragile—Ramsey’s first disc of new material in roughly a decade—is more sombre than those songs indicate. On song like the brooding “Dreamland”, the twangy “Can’t Sleep”, or several instrumental interludes, Ramsey proves himself a master of solid, twang-inflected songs, threading tasty lead guitar lines through unassuming arrangements. Ramsey’s work with other artists has been a consistent treat, but it’s good to see him back to creating his own music.
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