Ry Cooder

Fri, Aug 17, 2012, 01:00

Election SpecialNonesuch ****

Like many of his peers, Ry Cooder is going through a purple patch in his autumn years. Now 65, he stepped on the artistic gas with the release of his so-called California Trilogy (2005-2008), then last year his Guthrie-esque Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down took another smart turn. Now as the US presidential election nears, Cooder’s new album offers his take on matters political in an impressive series of vignettes. His characters convey his left-leaning message, both plus and minus. For instance, Mutt Romney Blues uses humour to take a swipe at the Republican hopeful as his dog tells his sorry travel tale. President Obama becomes a bluesman prisoner in Cold Cold Feeling as he wonders about the return of Jim Crow, while the steamy Kool-Aid is a bitter nod to a decade of war. It’s vintage stuff, Cooder’s singing and guitar-playing consistently striking home. It’s agitprop, but it is also good, very good. nonesuch.com

Download tracks:Mutt Romney Blues, Brother Is Gone