Kevin Gordon was a favorite of our friend and music columnist William Gay. When the opportunity arose to stream the album Gloryland in its entirety, we decided to refer to the wisdom and eloquence of William, who said it best in his last column for us.
Kevin Gordon: GLORYLAND by THE OXFORD AMERICAN
Kevin Gordon’s album Down to the Well is still one of my favorite albums of the last ten or so years. The title song and “Jimmy Reed is the King of Rock & Roll” still echo around in my head. I wasn’t alone in liking it, either—Gordon was widely praised by everyone from Buddy Miller to Lucinda Williams, and the title song wound up on The Oxford American’s fifth music compilation and on an anthology of Americana that No Depression magazine released.
But Gloryland, which is Gordon’s first release in seven years, should enhance his already sizable reputation as a poet-songwriter and an impassioned performer who sort of brings to mind a country Bruce Springsteen. But this record is not country, at least not the country you see on the charts or hear on the radio: It recalls the sort of honesty and hardscrabble poetry that real music had before the days when it moved to the city and became countrypolitan.
Gordon deals with a wide gamut of characters, most of them down-and-out with their backs to various walls. Questions of faith and spirituality run through several of the songs—the title track, “Gloryland,” reminds somewhat of Dylan during his Slow Train Coming period, except that it rocks harder, and “Pecolia’s Star” tells the story of the folk artist Pecolia Warner with passion and grace. Gordon grew up in Louisiana on the punk rock of The Ramones and The Sex Pistols, and a degree in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop doesn’t keep him from rocking out. Gloryland is straight-ahead American rock & roll music that sometimes trades in the honesty characteristic of The Band’s early records.
—William Gay, January 2012
Purchase Album Here.