By Megan G. Razzetti
Chuck Ragan released his fourth solo album on March 25, refreshing classic folk sound that gives a new generation of music fans a taste of the past.
Ragan, known for his rough vocals in the band Hot Water Music, has made a name for himself going solo.Taking his punk roots and adapting them to the indie folk genre has helped the heavily tattooed and younger audience listen to music in an entirely different way.
This has created a platform so that there might be more acceptance for classic folk music. It has reintroduced a lost genre to a brand new generation of music fans.The highlight of this album is “Non Typical,” a track composed so well, it could give listeners chills.
Ragan’s voice is backed up by a powerful array of banjo, fiddle, and guitar. Another track that stands out is the first one on the album titled, “Something May Catch Fire.” It opens the album with full force.
The listener is introduced to the Americana theme of the album folk is known for, which gives a consistent flow to the beautifully written songs.
“Vagabond” plays like a tall tale of an unknown traveler looking to forget a past. The song plays along to a keyboard that gives it an E Street Band feel. Throughout the album, Ragan’s rough voice resembles Bruce Springsteen’s sound.
His strong voice sings stories of Americana that show off his unique songwriting with such vibrancy, that the listener will appreciate how non-traditional this version of folk music really is. “Revved” shares the same theme, but the lyrics have Ragan declaring his insanity over the one that drives him wild. “Vagabond” and “Revved” offer a traditional style of storytelling through music and is completely fantastic in deliverance.
“Wake with you” is a beautiful tune that reminds the listener of an old country love song but it remains modern in the execution of the vocals.
The calm instrumentals provide a soothing tune making it romantic. “Bedroll Lullaby,” “Gave My Heart Out” and “Whistleblower’s Song” provide the structure within the album. The album wraps up with a powerful “For All We Care” that gives a hopeful message to stay strong in life’s endeavors. starting out with a simple, gentle sound, it ends in a symphony of folky instruments such as banjo and fiddle that gives a bright ending unlike any other.
Ragan is backed by a fabulous quartet of musicians known as The Camaraderie consisting of Joe Ginsberg, Jon Gaunt, Todd Beene and David Hildalgo Jr. of Social Distortion.
Also included in the album are some notable members of the folk punk scene such as Dave Haus of The Loved Ones, singer-songwriter Jenny O. and Ben Nichols of Lucero. Ragan’s album “Till Midnight” offers an example of folk revival. The ten-track album is a great soundtrack for people looking to hear something different.
This also would be ideal for listeners who appreciate Ragan’s music already. It is a refreshing take on a genre that has been a part of American music culture, but is often passed up for mainstream hits. “Till Midnight” is now available on iTunes and wherever records are sold.