Album Review

Jason Springs Bares His Blue Collar Bones and Busted Knuckles

Jason Springs - Blue Collar Bones and Busted Knuckles

I have a heretofore unwritten rule that I reject any submissions where a man sings about a Tragic Woman. The Tragic Woman is usually described as beautiful but a hot mess and everyone knows it. The invariably male narrator is usually watching her from a distance in a bar or at a party and decides, possibly against his better judgment, to take her home anywhere. The story usually ends there, though sometimes they fall in love. Otherwise it's a disaster but he knows that's how it was going to turn out.

First of all, men, there is all kinds of tragicomic nonsense you can call out amongst yourselves. Secondly, taking home someone who's more drunk than you is the very definition of rape culture. Don't. Do. It. Thirdly, there aren't that many songs out there where women sing about men being sloppy messes. In fact, they're usually sad songs about how she should have known better. There is, of course, "Don't Go Home A Drinkin,'" but that scolds the Tragic Man. It's not about how much fun Loretta was having. Songs about the Tragic Woman are often fun and celebratory. Because you're about to sleep someone who isn't able to give full consent.

Forget. That.

All of this is to say that I managed not to hold it against Jason Springs for leading off his debut album with a Tragic Woman song. "Danville in the Dust" is a fun song to rock to, but it was Springs' wild delivery, reminiscent of Matt Woods, that impressed me enough to overlook the content. (And this is hardly Springs' fault -- the Tragic Woman is a long tradition that I hope, like murder ballads, will die off soon.)
That all being said (sorry, Jason), Blue Collar Bones is a hell of an album and an excellent debut. Springs can battle it out with the best of them. Any fan of John Moreland, Cory Branan, or Matt Woods will find themselves at home with Springs. Springs' descriptions of an aimless-seeming life down South are poignant and hard-hitting. While this may be Springs' first record, it's certainly not his first collection of songs. We often get the sense that he's pleasantly surprised to see he made it out of his twenties in one piece. Most importantly, he's proud of where he's gotten and it's that sense of celebration that makes Blue Collar Bones an exhilarating listen. Springs has a bright future ahead of him, and I'm excited to see where he and his guitar travel next.

Jason Springs -- Official, Facebook, Purchase CD From Jason Springs' Site, Purchase Digitally on iTunes, Spotify

This post was edited for salty language. You can read the original in its profane glory at Adobe & Teardrops

While writing an album review,  do you find yourself ruminating on "rape culture" and "full consent"? 

Don't. Do. It.

Also, if you "have unwritten rule that (you) reject any submissions where a man sings about a Tragic Woman", then why are you writing about it here?





Art is personal and the personal is political so...yes.

So everything is political? Then nothing is political.

And let's all hope Jason can get woke before he writes his next batch of songs.

That seems like a strange tautology.

And I hope he does, and I hope lots of other people do, too. Our social mores are replicated and disseminated through pop culture. When artists literally change their narratives, that begins to change the way we all think and behave. Jason Springs doesn't have as much pull as, say, Beyonce, so I mean what I say that the burden isn't on him alone and I hope that's made clear in the original review.

It's also lazy songwriting -- again, not a critique of Jason himself but of the many many many many male singer-songwriters I get in my inbox. Poke a hole in the cliche. Bradley Wik, who is a solid album out today, starts it off with a similar narrative -- a tragic woman who's constantly strung out and running around. But the song ends with him expressing concern and grief because it turns out they were in a relationship and she OD'd (if I heard the song right.) So instead of it being "hell yeah I'm going to take advantage of a woman who I know has low self-esteem" (which is literally what happens in Spring's song) it actually ends up empathizing with the woman in question and treating her like a human. Another twist could be "hell yeah I'm going to take advantage of a woman who I know has low self-esteem, I guess because I don't think I deserve a grounded person."

Not only is that just more challenging for both the writer and the listener, but it also calls into question the way these cliches don't serve anyone anymore. That's what good art is: asking why we live the way we do and imagining a world that's better than the one we've got.

Your earnestness is duly noted but I think you're overthinking all this. Lighten up, Francis.

Considering you're the one who took the time to make an account on this site and comment on an 8-week-old article, I strongly recommend you take your own advice. It's hard to lighten up when someone with a literal fake name tells me how to write. My reviews have been featured on the front page for years so I'm pretty sure you're in the minority opinion here. This is a community based on dialog and respect, which is why I took the time to respond as fully as I did. To wilfully troll on here is just not done. So in tge spirit of dialog, I'd love to know what irked you so much about an old, minor review.

Fake Name, assuming it's the same person that it was before, has trolled out here before, and he doesn't care about the respect part of dialogue...he's been summarily identified as a "troll" in the past, which he balked at until the definition of a "troll" was posted, after which he slunk back to whatever basement people who lack the courage to use their own name when posting their opinions go to...I'm surprised he didn't refer to you as 'honey" or some other homily when suggesting you "lighten up"...the irony of his alias, given that he is attacking people who actually have the courage to put their name to what they've written, is lost on him...

Having said that, you obviously can take care of yourself in any verbal encounter, so have at it...just wanted you to know that several of us have gone back and forth with 'Fake"... 

Thanks for the support, Jim. I think my thumbnail proves that I'm a humorless lesbian, hence the "Lighten up, Leslie" comment.

Alas, I am too young and hip to understand the reference.

Damn, you folks are thin-skinned! First off, I'm not "attacking" anyone or telling them "how to write". This is a comments section and I made a few comments about something I read on the magazine site.  THAT'S WHAT THE COMMENT SECTION IS FOR. Also, based on the number of comments I see besides mine (zero), I would think you'd be happy with a little reader interaction. But I guess I would be wrong...........

You seem upset. Are you okay?

I'm pretty fuckin' far from okay.

Oh no! What's wrong?

Nothing, he's identified his own problem..."self knowledge" is the key to enlightenment...I am sure the quote from Plato is "Dearest Fake, Know Thyself!"...

Or perhaps, the actor just ad-libbed that the night of the performance I attended...

Fo' schizzle Fake Name!

You had me fooled R...I'd have bet you were from the suburbs...

The eyes and ears of No Depression  are too sensitive to deal with salty language and rape culture? I read both versions and not sure why the unedited version wasn't posted here.

And oh yeah, thanks for taking the time to post your review.


I try to keep things FCC-friendly when i repost on here though considering they had the word "motherfucker" on their homepage for two whole days (the Sarah Shook article) I guess it doesn't matter.

There's been some pretty rough stuff out here in the past...for what it is worth I'm with need for an edited...but I'm not the one paying you very little for carry on as you must...

Aw thanks! I'm not getting paid but I also don't want to upset any apple carts! *shrug* Thank you both for taking the time to read!

Well...I can certainly follow the rationale for that...some of us contributed free content here and there back in the day when everyone contributed for free...I know they pay for some content at this point, but I suspect it's only slightly more than they are not paying you...print isn't exactly lucrative these days, and what they are trying to do with the magazine may or may not be a successful model long term...I'm sure you are aware that many of us who really liked the lively discussion forum back in the day pitched in $6 per month to keep the grand experiment alive for a while...hopefully it works out and they can pay for all content...and maybe bring back the lively discussion the meantime, keep the apples in the cart...

I did read this review, but it was a while seems to keep surfacing...

When I get back from vacation I plan to write an op-ed that is sure to upset many apple carts. But stay tuned. ;) Also do check out this album -- it's really strong and I'm sure his followup will be excellent.

Will do on checking it for your op-ed, that sounds like something I would be interested in reading...enjoy your vacation...