Jack Grelle may sound like your typical heartland troubadour, but his down-home demeanor masks the soul and conviction of a principled man, leaving lessons in his wake.
The title track of his new album, Got Dressed Up to Be Let Down (out Oct. 28 on Big Muddy Records), is timely to a great degree. There, Grelle offers an affirmative nod to women who have been suppressed by society, a song Donald Trump ought to be force-fed continuously until he learns it’s not right to excuse bragging about sexual assault as mere locker room banter.
Grelle's admiration for women is further affirmed on the folksy “Birthday Cards,” which sounds like a tune John Prine could -- and should -- have once called his own. Still, it’s the twang and charm of “Changes Never Made” that offers the best example of Grelle’s unusual dichotomy. It may sound like a backwoods ramble, but listen closer and you'll hear a plea for sympathy for the black community who feels like they’re always under siege.
Of course, this isn’t to say Got Dressed Up To Be Let Down is simply an album of socio-political barbs and pontification. Grelle’s ability to veer from down-home balladry to South of the Border interludes, to Cajun revelry and rollicking refrains makes this an album worthy of repeated listens, regardless of where you stand on the issues he addresses. Then again, if the messages come through the music, it’s all the better.