The Coal Men’s fourth album, Escalator, was released yesterday, and things are looking up. There’s the fall tour with Todd Snider, who runs the band’s label. There’s the support of top-shelf Americana vets like Will Kimbrough, Jen Gunderman, and Audley Freed, all of whom make guest appearances on the album. Most importantly, there’s the band’s rootsy rock & roll, full of steady pulses and wild guitar breaks that point to a half-century’s worth of influences, from Skynyrd’s backyard boogie to Springsteen’s road anthems.
“We took time to make this album a little strange,” says frontman Dave Coleman. “After 13 years in a band, it’s easy to read each other and play as one, so we all felt comfortable going out over the cliff and playing with intensity and dynamics. The basic tracks are all single takes and [producer] Joe Garcia pushed us to get the best collective performances. The songs, I think, are a bit of a spiritual accounting; at 34, I’m taking stock in my life. ‘Stuck’ is accepting were you are from, rather than running away from it. ‘Tennessee’ is a look at the committed path ahead. ‘Sanity’ is a song about the temp job hustle, and how you have to have a since of humor if you are down in the mud.”
Stream Escalator below, in its entirety.