Why the heck would Ronnie Fauss call his new album “Mulligan”? In golf, a mulligan means a do-over. It means you screwed up so bad people feel sorry for you. I don’t feel sorry for him and this ain’t no do-over.
Fauss’s first EP, New Songs for The Old Frontier, was damn good (see my review). But his new stuff is nothing like his old stuff was. It’s better. Rocks more. Rougher voice. I like that. Got a fiddle on some of it. I like that too.
I can’t get the first song, To Ease My Mind, out of my head. Very catchy tune. And It’s a Long Long Way is a funny talking blues song (think Todd Snider’s Talking Seattle Grunge Rock Blues) explaining the direction, or lack thereof, of a guy growing up in the post-Nixon era. I’m pretty sure that anyone who rhymes “riches” with “bitches” is headed in the right direction.
Wish had me fooled. I thought it was a sweet little love song but then I really listened to the lyrics. It’s more like a hate song. There’s a lot of bitterness packed in that one, with amusing lyrics to boot. And the mandolin and harmonica just make it that much better.
I love the fiddle on Just Another Tuesday. And the lyric “Sometimes a dream is worth believing, even if it’s only in your head.”
Fauss has got that songwriting/storytelling gene I admire in the great ones – James McMurtry, Steve Earle, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen . The music stays with you and the stories are fascinating, kind of open ended so you have to think. With a lot of humor thrown in.
I think I figured out how he does it – he’s a nosy bastard. I spent some time with him this week before his show at Quixote’s and I wanted to ask him about the stories behind some of his songs but he kept turning the tables on me. Asked me all sorts of questions I didn’t want to answer. Seems to have an instinct for which buttons to press. Uncanny.
And that inquisitive streak has got to be where he gets his material. He looks for stories and he puts them into his songs. Makes for great music.
Ronnie’s Denver show last week wasn’t attended nearly well enough but that didn’t stop him from playing as if the club was full. And this was after he spent a day in 95 degree heat watching baseball. He might have had a few beers too. It only helped his voice. Ragged and good.
He also had a bunch of really great stuff that hasn’t shown up on either EP. He says he’s going to make another one soon. Get on it, Ronnie. We’re waiting.