FAME Review: Jim Libby - Made in USA
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Jim Libby - Made in USA

Made in USA

Jim Libby

Available from CD Baby.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com)

Jim Libby's definitely a superior song composer and true-to-form country singer, and by that I mean solidly classic. His tracks have verve, tunefulness, great hooks, and the kind of energy that makes you pay attention. His band's polished and tight, Made in USA's engineering highly compliments his craftsmanship, and the arrangements are thoughtfully constructed, but, well, there are problems with what appears to be a Tea Party / Libertarian / strongly Conservative streak running through the lyrics. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think so. That whole ethic has been so thoroughly demolished for the Republican / Rand mindset it is that I'm not sure it's possible to reconcile such in any context. Should that matter musically? Hmmmmmm.

Yep, Libby's a fucking good writer and vocalist, but it's a tad difficult to keep singing along when the lyrics run like this:

Whoa whoa, if everyone could grow the food they ate,
Work hard, live off the land, learn to appreciate.
But now the man will take from me just to clean his mess.
Because I went and built my dreams, I can support the rest.

That's from Try and, granted, the most explicit citation of TPC (Tea Party Consciousness). Things probably wouldn't be problematic save that, once set down, those four lines amplify conservatisms found elsewhere: in the title cut, in World Goes Around, and etc. Normally, I'd think "Well, that's country for ya", but damned if that one stanza from Try doesn't argue with me, y'know? It's kinda like finally knowing what a kneejerk reactionary Ted Nugent is: disappoints and lessens the affinity one might want to feel for an artist.

Then there's the strange stab at…well, I guess it's romance:

Please come home with me
There ain't anybody in here
That's any better than me
So please come home with me

Yikes! That's from Please Come Home with Me, it doesn't get any better as the track progresses. Once again, we've got a typical shitkickin' goatropin' frame of mentality, but, well girls, doesn't it kinda give ya a bit of a shudder? When was the last time you heard that brand of thinkery from a guy…and did it turn out well?

Beyond that, though, I can't emphasize enough that this gent is a truly good musician and writer in general, putting out material that's highly attractive on a number of levels. I can't quite determine if Made in USA is a first outing or not, but, if it is, it's extremely impressive musically, an expert blending of rock and country, a CD begging for multiple listens, but, for myself, I just can't shake that stanza from Try outta my head. Or Please Come Home with Me.

Track List:

  • Try
  • Gonna Stop Living Just to Make a Livin'
  • Made in USA
  • World Goes Around
  • Forever
  • Find It
  • Love
  • Able
  • Please Come Home With Me
  • CNC
  • Love Alive
  • Run Away With Me
All songs written by Jim Libby except Run Away with Me (Libby / Coate).

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
 
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