Various Artists. I Like it Better Here -Music From Home

The first release from the Hemifran label (who are one of the prime distributors and publicists of Americana in Sweden) is an odd affair. To launch the label not only have they reached across the Atlantic they’ve also delved into the past and come up with a collection that celebrates the classic seventies era of singer/songwriters. The inclusion of folk such as Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, David Crosby, Jack Tempchin, Steve Noonan and Greg Copeland, all bona fide paid up members of the Laurel Canyon set is impressive. In addition some lesser-known names of the time and some contemporary continental artists pitch in with some very simpatico styled songs.
Of course some would argue that much of the music of this era was bland, drug fuelled narcissism or that it paved the road to excess as exemplified by the uber group that was the Eagles. However much that was recorded then remains vital and the best parts of this collection recall the optimistic and indeed groundbreaking sounds that continue to fuel much of today’s Americana.
The opening song, This is My Country, by Joel Rafael, recorded live, features Crosby and Nash on vocals and is the most nostalgic song here. Recalling that pairs’ glory days, the sound of Nash protesting hasn’t changed one iota over the years. The remainder of the album sounds more contemporary while maintaining the innocence, anger and values that the likes of CSN&Y espoused. Jack Tempchin (writer of the Eagles’ Peaceful Easy Feeling) contributes a fine rootsy acoustic blues song. Greg Copeland recalls the edgier side of L.A. on 27 Red House Road while Steve Noonan‘s Goin’ Home relates a tale of him, Greg Copland and Jackson Browne building a spooky urban scarecrow to keep drug addicts away from their door. Both songs are superb. With some fine up tempo country rock from Mikael Persson (Home Sweet Home) and the excellent Steve Stills styled acoustic jab of Home Nights by Sugarcane Jane the newcomers more than hold their own. The album ends as it begins with a live song from a seventies survivor, Jackson Browne, with a great rendition of The Rebel Jesus that demonstrates that some of these guys are still as vital and significant as they were then.
Check out the website here
And listen to Jack Tempchin here

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