Jim Wurster - Hallelujah
Release Date: 2007-04-15
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Singer-songwriter Jim Wurster mines the same field as he did on his previous, more-rocking effort, Wake Up!, which was recorded with his sometime band, The Atomic Cowboys. Lucky for Wurster, that field — the many foibles of the Bush administration and the ongoing shame of the Iraq War — is a mother lode for acerbic liberals. On his new CD, Wurster loses the Cowboys and offers 11 songs of mostly acoustic music that, informed by folk and alt-country, makes excellent use of his Dylan-esque vocals. The opener, “Blind Man,” with its chorus of “Blind man, what do you see/Living in the land of the free,” lets listeners know from the opening salvos exactly where Wurster is aiming his guns. The disc’s first five tracks address the war, the greed of corporate America and the sad state of our country’s middle class. One of these songs, “Gilded Again,” pays homage to historical left-wing labor heroes such as Eugene Debs and The Molly Maguires. The next three songs cover the tried-and-true alt-country subject of boozing to forget lost love — here done most effectively on “Have Mercy on Me” — before swinging back to the album’s main focus with “Ridin’ With Jesus,” “Armageddon” and “Hallelujah.” With this final trio, the subject shifts slightly from the administration to the religious crazies who put it in power. But when Wurster wraps up the album by singing, “The sun’s gonna close its eyes, hallelujah/No more light, just darkness in the sky, hallelujah,” he does so in almost-hopeful terms, suggesting that conformity and close-mindedness are not impossible to overcome. For people who agree with Wurster’s pointed point of view, this album represents some of the best political songwriting to come out of Florida since a few hanging chads put the cowboy president in office. For the roughly 30 percent who still approve of the man, this CD can’t be recommended. But, hey, those folks are probably too busy listening to Newsboys or something. Dan Sweeney / City Link Magazine