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“Al Scorch and the Country Soul Ensemble breathe fire and brimstone into each and every track when performed live.”
“It's almost too easy to compare Chicago's Al Scorch to William Elliott Whitmore. He grew up playing the guitar and banjo, started opening up for punk rock bands, and eventually started touring the world's dirty and cramped DIY spaces. He has a warm on-stage persona and the songs that ooze out from these basements and clubs into the neighboring homes range from a sweet fiddle tune, to the stomping sing-along of a gypsy song of old.”
“The finest country-punk-folk-bluegrass banjo player in the country, Al Scorch's return to D.C. has him playing on a bigger stage at a more high-profile venue. The last time Scorch was in town he graced a back porch in Petworth, sans band or PA. Tonight he'll be at the city's finest rock-and-roll venue. It wouldn't be shocking if he ended up on the Millenium Stage this time next year.”
“This is music laced with an understanding of human nature that is as diverse as the roots of the music. The songs are delivered as frantic uptempo tales of tough tribulations (Hard Times) to the more melodic tale of heartbreak (Movie Picture) and, on occasion, the more undulating title track, a song of tragedy that still resonates. A short album that clocks in at just under half an hour it none-the-less packs a punch that makes it stand out from a lot of bands that have mined similar roots and would likely not displease some fans of early Avett Brothers. Al Scorch though, has his own voice and it's a good one. And his ensemble back him up in every way.”
“It is the albums title (and closing track) that sets Scorch apart from mere good time fiddle bands. The music is in standard country waltz time, the story is of a man who gets repeatedly drawn back to the 'Tired Ghostly Town', again, standard enough but the lyrics, including: "the rust lying on the shoreline" and "a cancerously crippled giant waiting to die" speak evocatively of a place on it's last legs. There is a colliery brass band feel to the tail end of the song and, therefore, the album which contrasts so vividly with the opening track. You only really get that if you have it on repeat: something it's been on a lot over the past few days.”