Album Review

Phil Cody - The Sons of Intemperance Offering

Phil Cody - The Sons Of Intemperance Offering

While comparisons to other artists can be useful to the consumer -- if I see a band described as sounding like "Steve Earle and Paul Westerberg taking turns fronting Los Lobos," chances are I'm going to check their album out --most artists are understandably wary of comparisons, preferring to be heard on their own terms. So apologies in advance to Phil Cody, who's about to serve as grand marshal for one hell of a comparison parade. On his impressive debut, Cody sounds like Del Amitri singing Dylan (the album-opening "House of Lust"), '90s folkie Bill Morrissey ("Stages"), '70s-'90s rockin' folkie Elliott Murphy ("Solana Beach Song"), The Band (Cody's ode to his home city of Cincy, "Hats off (to the Big Queen City)"), Dylan singing Dylan ("All the Way My Lover Leads"), Van Morrison ("A Soft Reply"), and Bob Marley (the delightful "Tighten Up"). Add to those a roots-rock-goes-reggae version of The Clash's "Straight to Hell", and the gifted Cody has covered a good chunk of my record collection. However, Cody's music is more merely reminiscent of these artists than directly derived from them. A gifted storyteller backed by a solid band (including the Wallflowers' Rami Jaffe on keyboards), Cody is one of those artists whose debut album leaves you immediately itching for the follow-up. Adding to the impatience, not to mention the intemperance, is the fact that Cody has reportedly been working recently with Joe Henry -- an interesting writing partnership, for sure.