All the Fame of Lofty Deeds
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Blurs the irrelevant line between punk and country and highlights the Welsh wit that marries the personal with the political.
Jon's second solo album is the cautionary tale of a singer who rises from obscurity to opulence only to gulp heartily from the poison cup of compromise and betrayal to sink back into the dirt and darkness from whence he came. It’s a thinly veiled damning of a culture that trades in optimism, grandeur and glitz, but ultimately depends on sucking people dry.
Seemingly an album of disparate times and ideas, All the Fame of Lofty Deeds holds together as a whole, sort of a song cycle of a hillbilly Ziggy Stardust. But, as so many thematic albums collapse under bombast, Lofty Deeds is personal, chummy, intimate and casual; it could be a get together of a few friends in the back room. Features his classic tale of Nashville woe "Nashville Radio," a re-working of "Over The Cliff" (a song that originally appeared on the For A Life of Sin compilation, and subsequently covered by the Old 97s on Wreck Your Life, the proto-rockabilly of "Hard Times," and, IMHO, one of the best songs about America EVER "The Country is Young."
There's also folk-circuit cover of Procul Harem's "Homburg" and a live version of Bob Wills' "Trouble In Mind."
Lofty Deeds shows Langford’s immense and varied talents in a sharp new light. Yes, his fondness for blurring the irrelevant line between punk and country is here in spades, and the wit that marries the personal with the political is not lost. But, with concise writing and stripped down arrangements, this album nudges his powerful voice (full of bluster and rolling rrr’s) and lyrics front and center like he’s ready to burst out of your hi-fi and chew on your ear.
The Country Is Young