I’m pleased to announce that, unequivocally, the latest collection Old Angel is by a band with their boots and their eyes toward the future, and “band” is the key word here. The concept of the album is a musical travelogue down Route 66, “The Mother Road”, “The Old Angel” and it stems from two Taylor songs , “The Glory Road” and “Dancing on the Devil’s Elbow” previously found on Daniel Amos albums. Because of that the album still weighs heavier on his contributions, but overall there is a greater sense of writing participation by all. Hindalong himself brings six instances of contribution including his solo-written “Wicked Guns” and there is an overall sense of four people at the very least bouncing ideas around, rather than one bringing the unrecorded album to the table.
The vocals once again are at full strength, with parts bouncing from one member to the next. The greatest strength of the Lost Dogs is their three-part harmonies, yet there have been some recordings where the vocals have been so compartmentalized you’d think they were just solo tracks recorded separately, which might be closer to the truth than I’d like to believe. Not here. Adding to that, the opening track, “Israelites And Okies,” is one of the best songs the band has produced in years — and that’s high praise. It has the pop feel blended with the subtle twang of a lost Asylum Records track from the 1970s and Taylor’s metaphorical lyrics perfectly set the scene of four musical friends ready to take this road trip down Route 66 — “If I’m gonna show you heaven, first I have to show you hell… Oh, Israelites and Okies, may we all travel well.” The backbone of rock and roll is here too, a sound that Roe has expressed in recent times has been less and less exciting to him. You couldn’t tell from his turn at the mic for “The Glory Road” in which the band really gels. Roe’s presence on Old Angel cannot be avoided as opposed to other outings where, mostly, he let his guitar do the talking.
The genesis of this album stems from the band’s tour down Route 66 in 2009 in an RV. Along the way they made the tourist stops, saw the sights and, clearly, took notes. A weariness about the tour is recalled in the Hindalong/Roe-written “Turn It Around”, as in, turn this RV around. If that is any indication of where the band was at the final stages of their time away, I feel almost sadistic saying it was worth it. It’s my belief that Old Angel reintroduces listeners to the band the Lost Dogs, gives up one of the best offerings they’ve ever made and positions them as one of the best Americana rockers you’ve likely never heard. We’re very lucky to still have the Lost Dogs, now more than ever.
Israelites and Okies – The Lost Dogs