Mrs. Glass is a musician based out of Austin Texas whose music has crossed many genres over the years but has always been firmly rooted in the blues. With his most recent album recorded at Arlyn Studios focusing on those roots with a solo acoustic presentation of a collection of delta and hill-country blues songs that send the listener to a to a different place in time. Whether solo or with his backing band, he's always a powerhouse of sound and style.
Pain and agony can resonate in most any music, and has throughout the ages. Church hymns started out the musical chronicling of divine pain, opera made grief into theatrical high art, and folk and country musics created a distinctly American way for the downtrodden to express their plight. But the blues... the blues was absolutely, 1,000 percent made for pain. Something about those chords and a swaying beat creates the perfect home for human moans and shrieks driven by heartache, injustice and evils brought by man and the world at large.
But here's the thing; the blues can't be all about the bad times. You need some joy, ecstasy and frivolity somewhere in there so the music is at least a little like life. Mrs. Glass understands that balance, and gives us a record that starts off with a sentiment (“Alone”) that's as old as stone set to guitar that sparks into a fire as the song swings along. That song sets the mold for the first of the record's yin and yang halves, with the first five tracks trading in spare but searing blues riffs, thunderous drums and a whole lot of woe.
It's the record's back end that sets the contrast, with unmistakable pop-rock touches (backing vocals, what sound like guitar overdubs in spots) and a more easygoing feel that casts an entirely different light on what came before it. It says a lot that a lyrical trifle like “Move Chocolate” (about the evolution of youngsters' snacking habits) can take on deeper meaning but I heard it and that's what we get here. And listen closely to title track “Happy Every Day” to find the difference between what at first seems like broad sarcasm and is instead astute commentary on the blandness of everyday life, Satire in a blues song? Like I said, it can't be nothing but tears and heartbreak all the time.
Austin TX, May 2014