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Tuesday May 23, 2017
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Jim Roll

 

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repertoire of folk, rock, and country music touches, make for a record rich with sonic surprises and heady lyrical twists. From the somber biography of "Eddie Rode the Orphan Train" to the sardonic spoof of "In-Flight Magazines," Roll's plainspoken tenor drives forward on an undercurrent of informed melancholy.

Perhaps inspired by the edgy-to-twisted wordplay of Johnson and Moody's more traditional verse, Roll's own incisive lyricism takes on a more ambitious literary bent in the five songs he wrote himself. "Bonnie and Clyde" is a rock song extolling the tough, violent vulnerability of Faye Dunaway's character in the film classic. "Orphan Train" tells the true story of an orphan exported from New York to Arkansas and put to work on a farm, and "Curious One" deals in the rarefied territory of the ancient Middle East and the sun goddess Anana.

Musically, Roll is clearly comfortable straddling several camps, whether he's playing solo or with a band, rocking out or finger-picking a folk song, revealing his own thoughts or putting music to those of another writer. Roll himself sums up the three-voice approach as "just freakish enough to fit together."

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