Bob Egan: The Glorious Decline

[21 March 2007]

By Jason MacNeil

Bob Egan has played with Wilco and Blue Rodeo, which to most people are the distant cousins of the same musical landscapes. Egan is a great pedal steel guitar player, and this is showcased on the world-weary and aptly titled “An Airport Bar on Christmas Day”, which Egan delivers with a Leonard Cohen or Lou Reed-ish monotone. The song takes a Beatles bend two-thirds in with better than expected and heady results. A folksy, warm, and soothing “Montreal” ensues that is just as strong, despite fading out less than two minutes later. Egan doesn’t quite move into the roots rock mold with this album, instead relying on interesting, Orbison-tinged ideas, such as “Spalding’s Lament”. The album deals with various topics such as love lost and life lost to suicide, but it all gels quite nicely. Egan nails instrumentals perfectly, particularly the tender, heart-tugging, Cowboy Junkies-like “The Forgotten Waltz”, which should have been a b-side to “Misguided Angel”. Another dirge-oriented number is the gorgeous “Pleasantville Bar” that refers to a lady dancing to Elliott Smith. After perhaps the “happy-go-lucky” number, Egan returns to what shines on “Drifting Too Far from the Shore”. A glowingly dark and somber effort.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/bob-egan-the-glorious-decline/