Terry Klein/Good Luck Take Care/independent
Four out of Five Stars
Terry Klein comes across as a somewhat gruff, no-nonsense singer and songwriter who hews to a traditional down-home sound. His new album—and his third to date—ominously titled Good Luck Take Care, is produced by the legendary Thomm Jutz, an effective overseer for the raw, rough-hewn treatment Klein shares here. That’s what comes across in this series of hard-luck stories, all of which are culled from heartland happenstance, and related from a first-person perspective.
The result is a series of gritty narratives, ranging from the worrisome ramble, “60 in a 75” and the tattered tale of a neer-do-well NASCAR driver to the bittersweet ballads “Cheryl,” “The Salt” and “The Goldfinch.” As one might imagine, the music is ragged around the edges, a sound that shares a similarity to Ray Wylie Hubbard and Guy Clark in terms of the torrid tapestry and treatment. No, it ain’t pretty, but still, it conveys honesty and emotion that gives the listener a clear connection. So too, when he ratchets up the energy and intensity on the hard rocker “Salinas,” there’s no denying the intimidating tone.
Klein’s mix of honesty and humanity is clearly compelling. There’s no sweetness or light that moots the malaise or provides relief or respite. Still, there’s something to be said for the ability to tell things as they are, even when it revolves around dire circumstances. The bittersweet ballad “The Woman Who Was Lost in the Flood” is particularly poignant, a harrowing tale of a woman beset by domestic difficulties that verge on eh edge of oppression and abuse. One can’t help but feel the fear and intimidation that accompanies the tragedy and turmoil.
That said, the rambling “Such a Town” shows empathy for a place where promise and prosperity may become things of the past but where legends live on. So too, when Klein sums up the situation with the album’s final entry the lilting “What You Lose Along the Way,” he effectively expresses those things that all of us come to reckon with as part of life’s journey. “The things you say to people matter,” he opines, and indeed those are wise words to remember. With the emotive, expressive and evocative Good Luck Take Care, Klein puts that advice into practice. It’s all well worth heeding.
Photo Credit : Valerie Fremin