Jace Everett: Swagga like him

If you watch “True Blood,” then you’ve heard “Bad Things” over the credits. Jace Everett sings it like he heard Chris Isaak’s “Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing” minutes earlier and liked it, a suspicion that goes double for the show’s producers. I’m pleased to report that host album Red Revelations is a good to excellent country-rock album, with vital guitar anchoring arrangements of songs that on first listen emulate Freedy Johnston’s level of above-average roots-rockness but settle reliably on a post-John Hiatt level of craft. Crucial: Everett is a much more compelling singer than Hiatt and Johnston though. Inflecting his sarcasm with an erotic lilt on “More To Life (C’mon, C’mon)” and “Little Black Dress,”  he defines a guy whose imagination turns the bad things he’s done into worse ones and hopes the women he’s hitting on don’t catch on. Actually, Everett reminds me of distinctly non-Americans Jon Langford and  Shane MacGowan in the way he includes the audience in the joke so that we can applaud his audacity (“Little Black Dress” even evokes that drunk-mad swagger of classic Mekons, down to the call and response vocals and filthy, untutored guitar fills).  Pedigree aside, Red Revelations is simply a lot of fun to listen to. The only misfire is “Damned If I Do,” which sounds like Bono auditioning for inclusion on Dylan’s Time Out of Mind.

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