Release Year: 2015
Label: ZZI Music
- (Why Do) Crows (Always Seem To Come Out On Cloudy Days)
- Company Town
- Death And The Devil
- Highway 61 Memories
- The Hills That I Love
- Once Upon A Moutain
- Old Tennis Shoes
- You’ll Make It Through Somehow
- Clay Parker – Guitars, Vocals
- Matt Sylvest – Bass
- Patrick Sylvest – Dobro, Mandolin, Vocals
- Billy Finney – Guitars, Banjo, Vocals
Reviewed In OffBeat
Robert Fontenot (Jazz Fest Bible 2015)
Musical bon vivant and unreconstructed hippie that he is, NOLA scene vet Louie Ludwig has always been a folkie more in function than form: his muse has wandered all over the place, often with surprisingly successful detours, but his guitar is set to kill fascists just as sure as Woody Guthrie’s, just with a decidedly post-Reagan ironic smirk.
Ludwig’s latest, however, a collaboration with the definitively old-timey Donaldsonville quartet the Moss Pickers, has freed his muse by curbing his roving eye—in making a straight folk album, and one steeped in bluegrass-flavored Americana at that, Louie’s wry outlook has transformed into a cosmic sense of humor as funny as anything you’d find in, say, the Book of Job. Dark and fatalistic but relentlessly humanist, he nearly approaches John Prine territory through what in lesser hands would be mere protest songs.
He sets the tone early with “(Why Do) Crows (Always Seem to Come Out on Rainy Days),” and bookends that with the relatively comforting reassurance of “You’ll Make It Through Somehow,” but in between sits a suite of songs caught between pain and revenge, a polemic for the eternal resilience of truth.
You don’t see it so much in the failed romance of “Highway 61 Memories” or the character portrait of “Old Tennis Shoes,” but like the footwear in both, everything here is a metaphor for something else, whether it be the placid imperturbability of nature when fracked (“Once Upon a Mountain”) or the coal industry that ruins lives in the process (“Snake”) or the seeming randomness of violence (“Nobody”) or even “Death and the Devil,” cast here as two hit men out for Louie’s body and soul (“It’s a mystery what them two distinguished gents could ever want with me”).
He’s past offering solutions, but that makes him an even more perfect fit for this genre: serene, timeless, trusting in the universe’s ability to balance out the spreadsheet. It’s uncommon music for the common man.