I would really like to love Ed Pettersen, because he seems like a good guy and he has a great album cover here and I agree with his lefty politics. I also think he is a good songwriter; not amazing, not revelatory, but good and solid. I even think he’d be great live. But this album doesn’t really make it for me, for a number of reasons. First of all: don’t call your album “The New Punk Blues” if you don’t mean it—this is alt.country.folk all the way. Secondly, Ed doesn’t have a very big range to his voice, and sounds like he’s straining on a lot of songs. Thirdly, I think he’s trying to get credit for sincerity instead of actually writing hooks and melodies that resound with people. Exceptions: “Been There Before”, the haunting “June 1945”, and the totally shameless Nebraska-era Springsteen-biting of “$500 Car”. Find your own voice, Mr. Pettersen, and follow it; you might have something to say after all.
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