Compass Records is on a roll. Earlier this year they put out The Waybacks new release Loaded. More recently, They released The Waifs Sundirtwater. Just so things don't get stale they will be releasing Drew Emmitt's Long Road on July 15th. I have previously posted on The Waybacks. However, equally deserving of praise are The Waifs and Drew Emmitt. Both albums were co-produced by Compass Co-Founder Garry West
The Waifs release is a new direction from their earlier album Up all Night. The new record for this Australian band is more eclectic. From the electric blues of the opener "Pony" to the Jazzy title cut "Sun, Dirt, Water" to the alt-country of "How Many Miles" or even the power-pop of "Goodbye," it seems no stone is left unturned. They seem to be comfortable in so many settings that they should avoid being type cast by industry marketing execs. Sundirtwater is a diverse platform from which to launch future projects. It is also a lot of fun.
Drew Emmitt's solo projects are always all-star affairs and Long Road certainly is no exception. Collaborators include Tim O'brien, John Cowan, Stuart Duncan, Reese Wynans, Darrell Scott, Ronnie McCoury and Billy Nershi of String Cheese Incident. The album will appeal to the New Grass crowd, The Jam Band hula hoop dancers and even traditionalists. Emmitt co-wrote most of the songs on the album, including the title cut co-written with John Cowan. However, there is also one stand out cover of Supertramp's "Take the Long Way Home." On his first solo release , Freedom Ride, Emmitt did the best cover of a Bob Dylan song I have ever heard, "Tangled Up in Blue." The Supertramp cover may not beat that but it is still a great cover. There is a positive energy on this album that really cuts loose at times. The musicianship is amazing and Long Road is extremely well crafted and produced. All of which makes it Drew Emmitt's best solo project.
This review also appears on Twangville