It’s impossible to define what genre Terry Allen fits in. He’s a sculpturer, a painter and a singer-songwriter too. He is what we call a true artist. And now, the Texas-raised Allen returns with a fresh new batch of work Just Like Moby Dick [out 24th January] since his 2013 Bottom of The World
Last year, a refurbished re-release of Allen’s Pedal Steel + Four Corners a catalog to some of his conceptual recordings that included tales from- Pedal Steel, Torso Hell, Bleeder, Juarez, and Dugout. Now returning with Just Like Moby Dick, the 12 track album is an ensemble of imagination and quick wit masked in terror, all in all in a name of America’s notable literary heroes.
It’s safe to say Allen’s new album is a family affair, featuring his enigmatic and longtime supporting band The Mystery Panhandle featuring sons Bale, Bukka Allen, Richard Bowden, Glenn Fukunaga, Lloyd Maines, Davis McLarty, Shannon McNally, Charlie Sexton, Brian Standefer and family that includes, wife, writer and actress Jo Harvey Allen, sons Bale and Bukka and grandsons Kru Allen.
With 5 songs already being released, “City of Vampires” which features both Allen’s grandson Kru and son Bukka Allen, “American Childhood II: Bad Kiss” “Death of The Last Stripper” “All That is Left is Fare-Thee-Well” featuring guitarist and Mystery Panhandle member Charlie Sexton who also serves as a co-producer on the album and finally “Abandonities”.
“Houdini Didn’t Like the Spiritualists” opens up with a mellow melody as Allen introduces his voicenarrating his tale about Houdini’s catastrophic existence. “Pirate Jenny” is an imitation to Lotte Lenya “Pirate Jenny” (Seeräuber-Jenny") from Weill and Brecht 1931 The Threepenny Opera. Enlisting a 3 part story from previously unrecorded songs from 2003 DOGOUT “American Childhood I: Civil Defense”, “American Childhood II: Bad Kiss” finishing up with “American Childhood III: Little Puppet Thing” a sarcastic take on the terror of the cold war via a child’s point a view. While “Bad Kiss” depicts a story of a young couple’s romance that ends in death in a war-torn somewhere in the middle east country. Singing, “It’s just the war, Same fucking war, It’s always been/Never ends.”
Co-written with Jo Harvey and Bukka Allen, Charlie Sexton, and Shannon McNally, whose voice graces the background throughout the album now takes the lead in “All These Blues Go Walkin’ By” while giving a jazzy chic spin on Jo Harvey Allen’s “Harmony Two”
Like many of his work, Terry Allen is no stranger when it comes to painting visual imagery in the listener’s heads as any story, there’s always an end and the curtain calls with “Sailin’ On Through" with a final line "Just like Moby Dick"
True country music is honesty, sincerity, and real life to the hilt. Garth Brooks