The Roadside Graves, a criminally overlooked New Jersey band, is back with a massively ambitious release. After 2007′s No One Will Know Where You Have Been, the boys have landed on Autumn Tone Records which is also home to J. Tillman and The Henry Clay People. My Son’s Home is 18 tunes strong and, while that usually is a signal that a band needs to trim some fat, this album is brimming with alt-country genius from beginning to end.
Each song is unique in sound with exceptional lyrics that strike you between the eyes. For those unfamiliar with them, I would liken their sound to a blend of Felice Brothers, Trainwreck Riders, Son Volt and The Band with a sprinkling of Gaelic influence in the vein of The Waterboys. The band is fronted by John Gleason and his voice and songwriting will have you believing the man has lived a number of lives.
In a day, where America spends countless time voting on their next plastic wannabe superstar, our time would be well-spent listening to bands like The Roadside Graves who fill their songs with emotion, heart and soul. Oz and I both have the same favorite track, “Ruby.” This is one of the tunes that has that loose, ramshackle Felice Brothers sound as it tells the story of a man back from war and his love, Ruby. Gleason and Jeremy alternate singing verses towards the end of the tune and the interplay is extraordinary.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is the title track, “My Son’s Home.” Gleason pours every ounce of his soul into the tune with the barest of instrumentation and backing vocals. It’s absolutely mesmerizing and hasn’t lost an ounce of its impact despite numerous listens.
I could rattle off amazing tune after amazing tune which would make this review about 2,000 words long but instead I will just urge you to purchase this brilliant album. The boys will be doing a tour later this summer and will be making their way through Chicago, hopefully with a stop in Shirk’s studio for a session.
Update: After reading that we loved “Ruby,” we were given permission to also post that mp3.