RAY DAVIES - Americana (2017)
The Kinks frontman has been celebrated as rock and roll royalty for years, but Queen Elisabeth made it official when she knighted him in December. It’s an honor Davies unarguably deserves. For more than 50 years, he’s been England’s great social satirist and commentator. If The Kinks are pop music’s quintessential British band, then Davies is by extension its quintessential British songwriter. Even today, Davies, now 72, is defined largely by his homeland. So when it was announced that his new solo record would be called Americana, it felt like something carved out of alternative history. But it’s real, and it’s a record as good as its premise is enticing. Almost a decade after the release of his last record, 2008’s Working Man’s Cafe, Davies comes out of hibernation for one of his most wily and enthused solo outings yet. The record acts as a musical companion to his memoir of the same name, revealing a fascination with the States that runs deeper than fans might have ever thought.
“Americana is such a big story,” Davies said in a video interview promoting the new record’s release. True enough, much of Americana plays like a celebration of American myth. Davies’ view of life across the pond is one conjured through a fascination with old western movies, the open road, and other distinctly American imagery. With the able support of alt-country mainstays The Jayhawks as his backing band, the record’s 15 tracks delve deep into the folklore. Davies wastes little time shaping his narrative on the record’s title track, regaling listeners with fantasies of roaming buffalo, school-boy romances, and living in the land of the free.
TRACKS: 01. Americana 02. The Deal 03. Poetry 04. Message from the Road 05. A Place in Your Heart 06. The Mystery Room 07. Silent Movie 08. Rock ‘N’ Roll Cowboys 09. Change for Change 10. The Man Upstairs 11. I’ve Heard That Beat Before 12. A Long Drive Home to Tarzana 13. The Great Highway 14. The Invaders 15. Wings of Fantasy
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