Bob Rea | Ragged Choir

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Country: Americana Folk: Progressive Folk Moods: Type: Lyrical
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Ragged Choir

by Bob Rea

Bob Rea wants you to know one thing: he tells the truth. On Ragged Choir, he delivers 14 tales full of truth, soul and optimism that mine his lifetime of experience, songs that often explore the darker corners of the American psyche.!"I can't embrace the
Genre: Country: Americana
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Stand Up
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2. Church Street
3:45 $0.99
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3. Platinum Dream
3:42 $0.99
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4. Long Way Up
4:48 $0.99
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5. My Getaway
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6. Dirty Dzeez
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7. Lights Out
6:27 $0.99
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8. Dead River Blues
3:53 $0.99
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9. Coeur D'alene
3:38 $0.99
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10. Wretched Soul
3:23 $0.99
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11. The Careful Song
2:24 $0.99
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12. On A Trailways Bus
3:25 $0.99
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13. Someday's Gone
4:00 $0.99
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14. I Will
2:11 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Rea’s clear-eyed visions of life’s darker side
bristle with authority because he’s lived the life he sings
about. He’s been a homeless wanderer and a pool hall
hustler, played in roughneck country bands across the
great Southwest and been a regular performer at bars and
clubs near his hometown of Durango, Colorado. He’s been
a cattle rancher, a builder of log cabins and mansions, a
general contractor, and just about every thing that's hard to
do in between. He’s experienced bankruptcies, divorces,
incarcerations, and years or working long hours to provide
for his family, living through the hard times and tribulations
that give his songs their hard-edged wisdom.
Through all this he raised his two children. "That's the
thing that I will always be proudest of" he say's "sometimes
we didn't have much of anything but we didn't seem
to notice. We lived in a run down trailer out in the
sticks but it taught us how to blend humility with
dignity. Now we look back on that beat up hunk of tin like
it was a sanctuary." Rea’s weathered baritone and down
home picking is as authentically country as you can get,
with a love of folk, bluegrass and blues that contributes to
his singular style.
Producer Tim Lorsch drafted a first rate band to
support Rea on Ragged Choir. Players include guitarist
Blue Miller (India.Arie); steel guitar player Mike Daley
(Hank Williams, Jr.); Austin, TX stand up bass legend
Dave Carroll; Dennis Gage (T. Graham Brown) on organ;
multi-instrumentalist George Bradfute (Garth Brooks,
Steve Earle) and Mickey Grimm of Over the Rhine on
drums. “The band really clicked in the studio,” Rea says.
“We knocked out most of the songs on the first take. They
sound exactly like I imagined them, only better.”
Ragged Choir kicks off with “Stand Up.” Rea’s
opening recitation is almost Biblical, his apocalyptic visions
fleshed out by the band’s dark, swampy groove and
the Gospel drenched backing vocals of Roxie Dean.
“Platinum Dream” deals with the current economic downturn.
Rea’s surrealistic poetry and understated vocal are
complimented by Wage’s Hammond B3 organ, giving the
track the feel of a 60s folk-rock tune. “The Careful Song”
is a catalogue of life’s tribulations, but Rea’s tongue in
cheek delivery makes it more comedy, than tragedy.
“Wretched Soul,” a co-write with Steve Styles, is
about judgment and redemption, with a strong vocal and
the band playing with a threatening Chicago-style bluesy
feel. “Coure d'Alene” has the album’s most spirited playing,
with Daley’s Dobro, producer Tim Lorsch's fiddle,
and Rea’s animated vocal and guitar goosing the
tempo along. “Someday’s Gone” is a moody bluegrass
flavored tune about missed opportunities; Daley’s moaning
lowboy steel guitar plays off against Chris Joslin’s
banjo.
Other strong tracks: “Dead River Blues,” a folky
showcase for Rea’s guitar and vocals, with the overdubbed
sound of a needle on an old 78 RPM record giving the
song a vintage feel; the bleak talking blues of “A Long
Way Up;” the almost straightforward country of “My
Getaway” and “Lights Out,” a grim yet unflinching ballad
about life in jail. Yet through the thread of dark and sometimes
sad stories his wry humor still brings a twinkle of
hope. He is clearly a man who does not give up and who is
not afraid to try.
“The songs are more universal, and reflect less
of my own life,” he says about his creative process. “I'm
more interested in writing about the human condition and
the changes that are happening right now in the United
States and the world. There’s a massive shift happening in
our values and our way of life. Wealth has proven to be a
fickle God and the realization of that infidelity is creating
a great deal of turmoil."
Rea’s first album, Black Highway, made waves
on Americana radio and was well received in the UK.
Lord Litter, who rivals the late John Peel for his impeccable
taste in underground music, called it “the coolest
outlaw-ish, Southern-rock-spiced release in ages.” The
record also did well in Germany, The Netherlands and
Belgium. Ragged Choir is an extension of the work on his
debut, Black Highway, but the songs hit harder. Rea’s
expressive baritone is more powerful and the album has
the organic feel of old friends playing tunes they’ve know
all their lives. “My life and my songs have been a process
of continual evolution,” Rea says. “Some force on the
other side channels these songs to me. I’m not impressed
with money; I only worry about it when I'm running out of
it. The idea of writing songs that are soap opera simple
doesn’t move me. That’s not my motivation. No matter
how the wind blows I'm going to sing the truth."

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