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Friday, July 21, 2006

LISTENING POST: CD REVIEWS

Greg Graffin "Cold As The Clay"


Having spent 26 years (and counting) fronting California punk act Bad Religion, Greg Graffin has earned the right to branch out. "Cold As The Clay" marks his second solo recording, and the first to be credited to his own name. A mix of time-honored and modern Americana, on "Cold As," Graffin, like many rock musicians before him, shows that folk and punk music aren't that far apart.

Graffin's five original compositions blend flawlessly with the six covers of traditional folk songs. Lyrically, many of the songs would work well on a Bad Religion disc, which should give longtime fans insight into the legendary act's influences.

Canadian folk-punks The Weakerthans back up Graffin on "Cold As" with harmonica, banjo, and fiddle. The arrangement of the bluegrass songs, back-porch folk and country waltzes gives the slowed-down acoustic tales of the ordeals of working-class America an authentic, ageless quality.

The Graffin-penned "Don't Be Afraid To Run" and the title track, along with gospel number "Talk About Suffering," are among the best cuts. Those familiar with Bad Religion may find it strange to hear "Let's Keep A-following Jesus" on the latter, but it works well with the vibe of the record. As he eventually tires of mohawks and mosh pits, "Cold As The Clay" offers a glimpse in what direction Graffin's career may be heading.



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