Artist: Joe Purdy
Album: Who Will Be Next
Label: Mudtown Crier
Release Date: 06/10/2016
From his own label, Mudtown Crier Records, Joe Purdy’s Who Will Be Next? is a prophetic lament about the dissidence and urgency facing Americans right now. Very few artists do folk-Americana music as well as Purdy, but this time he trades his tortured, romantic lyrics for lovesick outcries to his nation that are obviously burning in his bones. His tambourine has fallen silent, and his harp’s enchantment has turned to weeping. The album was released one song at a time, or a song per day for 10 days, like messages in a bottle sent to Purdy’s long time fans. This record is the one I just can’t stop listening to, and it gets more important with every passing day.
“New Year’s Eve” was the first song released and it introduced the theme: a man with hope. It begins with his year’s reflection and a list of personal desires, but then gradually the lyrics expand wider and his aspirations grow for mankind and his country. It starts out sweet and simple until rolling up on the third minute, where Purdy blows in like a tsunami. It lets listeners know that he has a lot to say in this album and pleads for your upmost attention. He follows it the next day with “Who Will Be Next?” which is a chilling waltz about gun violence, water shortages and the underlying fear most American’s have right now about where we are going as a country. His prescient piece, “Cursing Air,” is an unfortunately relatable berceuse about the different people experiencing a mass shooting. Its lyrics, “right above your body/ with hallowed eyes/ is a mad man shooting wild,” lay over a subtle, haunting organ in the background, which resembles funerals.
Purdy needs no fringe or feathers to convince anyone he is pure Americana, as he is well informed and in touch with the very soil he stands on. Every American, regardless of political stance, should hear Who Will Be Next?
– Bylle Breaux