GERALD CLARK’s Black Water album is as country and western as it gets, not only because of the genre (there’s a healthy dose of blues too) but because of the imagery and emotions it invokes. It’s easy to imagine a tough, life-bitten cowboy travelling dusty roads with windswept, tumbleweed for company. In between, he may experience strangers and love but, after he’s swallowed some mean whiskey, he holsters his guitar to continue his lonely path to nowhere. It may not be as hard-edged but at times these emotions compare to the feelings i have when listening to Bon Jovi’s ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’.
From the severity of opener of ‘It Ain’t You’ to the foot-tapping ‘Ain’t Going to Heaven’ and uptempo cover of The Animals, ‘House of the Rising Sun’, we’re assured of variation. ‘Breaking Bad’ may ooze Jack Johnson but most would be comfortable being played alongside John Mellencamp’s newer material. The continuous rhythm and excellent guitar work make the title track, rightfully, one of the best here. The backing vocals on ‘Marry Me’ work well, an offering that would be best received by Southern USA radio but i prefer the album’s dirtier or rockier moments.
GERALD CLARK may not play an eternal track but his succinct songs, at an average of 3 minutes in length, form a stronger whole. It’s life – Black Water’s 13 stories should be listened as to as one.