Artist: Lew Card
Album: Follow Me Down
Release Date: 01/08/2015
This is Austin singer/songwriter/guitarist Lew Card’s third album, but he is new to my ears. Card has logged plenty of experience as a sideman and session mandolin player for various Austin bands yet he’s had a penchant for songwriting since he was just 12 years old. He’s obviously been influenced by Dylan and Prine. It’s impossible to listen to this bluesy folk-rock record without hearing aural references to those two iconic songsmiths. Even the album’s title is a reference to a song Dylan often did with The Band, most memorably in The Last Waltz.
Influences aside, these are all original songs, with the exception of Norman Blake’s “Southern Railroad Blues,” which Card gloriously transforms into an uptempo rock ‘n’ roll tune, accented by the honky tonk piano playing of the venerable Earl Poole Ball. While the riffs on the other tunes are often familiar, Card was intentionally not trying to reinvent the wheel. As he says, “I wanted to write songs that weren’t intrusive…You can put it on and clean your house, or drive down the road and get some barbecue. Short and sweet. In and out. That was the biggest point here: Write simple songs and let ’em go.”
In addition to Ball, who plays on just two tracks; Card enlists the support of electric guitarist Doug Strahan (the Good Neighbors/Chili Cold Blood), who is all over the record, while the Tijuana TrainWreck Horns (Uncle Lucius/Shinyribs) contributes on five of the thirteen tracks.
This album is a straightforward, casual outing that just seems to grow on you with repeated listens.