Record #1: Adam Arcuragi – Soldiers For Feet (2008)

And we’re off, with the meager yet satisfying release from singer-songwriter Adam Arcuragi, whose mere 5 tracks I haven’t listened to in maybe three years.  But, despite being only five tracks long, it’s a satisfying listen–none of the songs seem to dip below four minutes, and a couple pass the six-minute mark.

He draws an awful lot from old country, spilling verses filled with images of Old America—Hank Williams records, Sears & Roebuck catalogs, the ruins of a house fire, and World War II are all par for the course, with a gang of friends layering his decidedly un-twanging voice with the kinds of harmonies Arcuragi must have fallen in love with as a child watching Grand Ol Opry on television (there’s even a “yodel-ay-hee” chorus, no joke).

Musically, it seldom strays from the acoustic guitar plus accompanying lap steel, horns, and backup vox. The two notable exceptions are “Almost Always,” the weakest track on the record in the form of a sappily sung piano ballad; and the noise interlude at the very end of the excellent “The Belgian.”

Overall, it’s a little refreshing to hear an honest to goodness old fashioned country western channeling record from a year when so many acts were hipstering the medium up (no offense to Fleet Foxes), even if the last track undoes much of what the previous four great songs did to restore the country music goodness of old.

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