Your Country

Country music is often the last refuge of the aging rocker, but there's nothing remotely dilettantish about this angry not-so-young man's foray into the genre. Even in his earliest days, Parker had a certain tear-in-your-beer aura about him, a vibe that's underscored here by layers of lap steel and barrelhouse piano. The latter instrument pushes the life-on-the-road paean "Anything for a Laugh" towards blue-highway territory, while the former brings extra sass to the kiss-off twanger "Cruel Lips" (on which Parker duets with Lucinda Williams). His classic speedballer "Crawling From the Wreckage" [which hit the charts in 1979 for Dave Edmunds] is recast as a rockabilly chugger. But there are a couple of missteps tucked in among the two-steps — a limpid version of the Grateful Dead's "Sugaree," a too-clever "Nation of Shopkeepers" — but Parker is not trying to seem like a dyed-in-the-wool Dixie-ite and that's what makes Your Country's flag worth flying.

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