Today I have my next bonus pick from my son, an unusual act and album from a band called Uncle Tupelo, who are labeled as “alternative country”. I think I would rephrase it as alternative with an occasional flavor of country. Their debut album was “No Depression”, and I would definitely compare them to an act like the Gin Blossoms, with subtle references to artists like the Georgia Satellites and even a hint of Neil Young. They are a trio of musicians from southwestern Illinois, and they created a very American sound that bridges many generations and genres.
As I described it to my son, I would say I liked, but not loved this record. It is definitely a unique blend of sounds, as I don’t think I have heard this particular combination before, but as I have noted many times, at the end of the day, a song has to have some kind of hook to pull me in, and I found most of these songs to be a bit monotone and lacking much of a draw. I will say that my favorite songs are more on the acoustic side, most of which tap further into the country feel. The title track is a good one, and I also like “Screen Door”. My third favorite tune is “Life Worth Livin’”, and I like the story-telling appeal of “Whiskey Bottle”.
My son’s preferred tune is “Factory Belt”, which is on the rougher and rawer side, especially near the end. I think this is a good example where I prefer their country influence more than their punk roots, and the lack of large flowing melodies is somewhat reminiscent of the coming grunge sound. All of that said, it was another new musical experience, and particularly when I consider the source, I’m glad I spent the time getting to know Uncle Tupelo.