On Uncle Lightnin’s new release Searching For Ted “The Cowboy” Eisenhower, the self-proclaimed “specialists in American musics” come out with guns blazing. Not only was this new album mixed by legendary producer Mitch Easter (R.E.M.) but it was mastered by up and coming legend Dave Barbe (Drive By Truckers, Lucinda Williams). And, with 16 songs, Ted represents an exhaustive array of tunes and tales.
Once dubbed “Faulkner with electric guitars,” Uncle Lightnin’ once again doesn’t disappoint with alt-country stylings that incorporate everything from Hammond organs and harmonicas to vibraphones and vibrant imaginations. In fact, musically Ted represents a fatter, more robust Lightnin’ than previous releases Sunday Breakfast (1998) and Urban Legend (2003).
“My Sweet Girl,” “Mythic City,” “Designated Non-Driver” and “Iris” are prime examples of how the boys have moved from a simple five-piece sound to a hometown representation of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers or quite possibly The Band.
As usual, Millard Ramsey pens lyrical brilliance reminiscent of Drive By Truckers’ Mike Cooley on his too-few album contributions, “L.A. Skyline” and “The Bitter End.” As always, frontman Richard Tate doesn’t disappoint with numbers such as “Hollywood Blues” and “Always Thinkin’ About You.” Oddly out of place is a remake of the previously released crowd favorite “Robert Johnson,” that just doesn’t seem to match the quality of the exceptional new offerings found of Ted. Even its inclusion however, doesn’t mar this outstanding new release by some of our most talented local musicians.
Searching For Ted “The Cowboy” Eisenhower is available now on iTunes, Amazon and other online music sources as well as at Chad’s Records, McKay’s and Inherent Records.