I'm tired of stylish trends and high fashion. I'm sick of shoes that
look like the awkward flippers of some sea creature. I'm tired of
black-and-red-colored haircuts so jagged and sharp I fear they could
hurt somebody. And I'm sick of recycled decades, zippers, studs,
money and self-importance. But perhaps what bothers me most is when I
look down, only to find an odd pair of boots better fit for a space
alien on my feet. Not me too?!
Don't you just want to escape this contagious rapture with "cool"
futurism sometimes? Maybe you don't want to physically depart from
your fast-paced, high-tech, hip urban life, but perhaps simply long
for a short mental break from it? That's what tranquil folk-rock
music like John Washburn's is for.
Stumbling Still Warm, the new country-tinged album from this
Berkeley, CA-born singer/songwriter/guitarist, is beautifully written and
effectively layered with an impressive, balanced arrangement of
instruments, including the fiddle, steel guitar, violin, lap steel,
harmonica, accordion and upright bass. The 10-song recording feels
pleasantly textured and somewhat raw and, although it's laden with
melodic hooks and upbeat drumming, Stumbling Still Warm is
often sad, centering on stories of heartbreak.
The album's production is somewhat hi-fi and clean, yet manages to
exude a rootsy, down-home feel. All in all, Stumbling Still
Warm is a country-folk album that won't disappoint fans of "No
Depression" sounds. (Noteworthy are the reverberating early
'60s-style guitar lines, reminiscent of Chris Isaak's original
guitarist, James Calvin Wilsey.)
And for the record, being a native Oregonian, I may have webbed feet
but I sure as hell don't wear flipper shoes it was a mere