King Tut’s, Glasgow, Thu, 27 Sep
Not to be confused with the current trend for trucker-chic and check shirts, Americana in the musical sense magics up the sound of smoky bars, whisky-soaked nights in the desert and heartbroken farm boys. Mixing roots rock, blues and country was what Green on Red did best, and guitar wonder-boy Chuck Prophet spent the 80s making alt-country albums with them until drugs and depression forced them to disband. His solo career picked up where they left off, and drew from his own experiences as a teenage junkie living in San Francisco.
His latest, eighth solo album, Soap and Water is being touted by the music press as his best yet. Chuck’s beloved geetar takes centre-stage (it’s the same Fender Telecaster he’s had since the Green on Red days) and around the finger-picking, strumming and growling, he uses rock’n’roll shout-alongs and bluesy ballads to exorcise a few demons. His marriage gets a look-in, and the title track sings of his fighty wife Stephie and infidelity; elsewhere he draws inspiration from the tragic wide-eyed wannabes stepping off Greyhound buses in San Francisco and London every day. Coming out the other side of junkiedom adds an open-heart honesty and who-gives-a-shit sense of humour to his lyrics. Especially when he gets a baby-voiced child choir to sing creepy backings on ‘Let’s Do Something Wrong’. Although a few tracks have a radio-friendly polish that doesn’t sit right with the gritty, home-grown sound, his dark and moody, scarred-but-still-standing style still cleans up.