Old Angel, the latest project from the Lost Dogs (Terry Taylor, Mike Roe, Derri Daugherty and Steve Hindalong) is a 15-song audio travelogue of the group's pilgrimage down Route 66— and may very well be their crowning achievement. Every song on this new record is a snapshot out the RV window. Some are blurry, some are faded, but all bear the yellowed patina of something like grace.
A wide-ranging musical palette of muscular modern rock tinged with old-timey Americana flavors reflects the ever-changing landscape as we tour the broken heartland with four master musicians and storytellers. The superlative songwriting from all four members, at times bordering on literature, covers an expansive time frame of American history from the Old West through the Great Depression to the day before yesterday. We are introduced to a diverse congregation of characters along this 2500-mile road trip: wandering Okies, homeless hobos, hope-filled Navajo children, brokenhearted waitresses and the legendary heroes of our common history. It’s an album of Polaroids, full of friends, family and otherwise unfamiliar faces, but by the end of the book, we know every story by heart.
The trip down what’s left of America’s Main Street is equal parts wonder and squalor and the Santa Monica Pier is no New Jerusalem but these boys share the adventure like a family slideshow carousel. Through one of their finest musical efforts in a career full of high notes, they help us find the joy in our journeys. Sure, the dust storms and potholes leave us weathered and sore and the gaudy kitsch almost turns nostalgia into parody but those who have ears to hear and eyes to see glimpse the ghosts of former glories around every broken bend in the old highway.
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