| BS 108

All the Fame of Lofty Deeds


Blurs the irrelevant line between punk and country and highlights the Welsh wit that marries the personal with the political.

Full Description

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."

Sputnik 57
The Country Is Young
Hard Times
Nashville Radio

Short Description
  • All told, it's tough to resist calling Langford's latest his best yet. Ambitious and smart, All the Fame of Lofty Deeds is an affectionate critique of America sung from the point of view of one seriously bemused expatriate.

    — Washington Post
  • A worthy addition to his musical catalog, [it] features some of his sharpest, most biting lyrics, with his impassioned vocals at the top of the mix... [He has] found a way to take a classic, traditional idiom and invest it with his own personality.

  • A sampling of his signature blend of traditional guitar pluckings and off-the-wall wit... they coelesce with the charm of an old yarn told well.

    — San Francisco Chronicle
  • He mixes the slightly ragged, rockin' urgency of Highway 61-era Dylan with Merle Haggard's workingman's blues twang. If Hank Williams were alive today (and a member of the Green or Socialist parties), he'd quite likely record an album that sounds as tart, cool, and wild as this one.

    — New Times
  • These mini-country-rock masterpieces, which masquerade as minimalist sketches, attack cutthroat capitalism's notion of achievement. Langford's half-croon, half-snarl fills the rough-hewn, fast-shuffling numbers with rude, waggish poetics.

    — Blender
  • Success on someone else's terms, don't mean a fuckin thing

    — from "Over the Cliff"

Track List

  • 1. Last Fair Deal Gone Down
  • 2. Constanz
  • 3. Sputnik 57
  • 4. The Country is Young
  • 5. Hard Times
  • 6. The Fame of Lofty Deeds
  • 7. Nashville Radio [fast version]
  • 8. Living A Lie
  • 9. Homburg (Procul Harem cover)
  • 10. Over the Cliff (covered by Old 97's)
  • 11. Trouble in Mind (Bob Wills cover)

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