Dave Alvin

Eleven Eleven

There’s a song on this new Dave Alvin album that gave me an emotional rush like few other songs I’ve heard of late. It’s called “Gary, Indiana 1959,” and I’d support a move to make it our new national anthem, one we all had to sing until we managed to return this country to the kind of place that deserves a song like the old national anthem, a place where working people are not treated as units of production to be outsourced, downsized, or otherwise discounted or discarded by impersonal corporations and grubby politicians who have been so effective in wiping out the middle class while shipping our manufacturing base overseas. If that sounds too heavy, don’t let my take on this album dissuade you from seeking it out. This isn’t prole propaganda. It’s gorgeously sung and masterfully played Americana. The range of mood is broad, from funny to funky to familial. It’s music with a heart, a soul, and a sense of humor. The album leads off with “Harlan County Line,” a song that captures the life of a traveling musician better than the entire Crazy Heart soundtrack. If you don’t check it out, you’ll be missing something very rich, very good, and maybe even very important.