Stace England

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STACE ENGLAND | GREETINGS FROM CAIRO, ILLINOIS
CD, Gnashville Sounds/Sonic Rendezvous

"No Dull History Lesson"

Although his name might suggest otherwise Stace England comes from America.  For his third CD, Greetings from Cairo, Illinois, England turned back to his home town and at the same time dug into to the roots of pop music. 
 
His search begins with a good, short religious traditional song from the year 1858, 'Goin' Down to Cairo'.  After that more history with 'Cairo Blues' (from 1929), then 'Grant Slept Here' concerning Lieutenant Ulysses S. Grant who in the civil war led his troops through the Mississippi mud.  “War was hell, but good for business.”
 
As a whole, Greetings from Cairo, Illinois reminds you slightly of the Public Domain of Dave Alvin, who also tells age-old stories of murder and manslaughter.  And just like Alvin, England wears a different musical jacket on every song, varying from loping country rock in 'Far from the Tree', Curtis Mayfield-style funk in 'Jesse's Comin’ to Town', to punk-tinged tones in 'Prosperity Train', pure bluegrass in 'Equal Opportunity Lynch Mob' and country parody in 'White Hats'. 
 
Sometimes the changes become surplus.  Moreover the common vocal sound of Stace England captivates on some numbers and is simply not as strong for others.  But if you accidentally happen to end up this side of Cairo, Illinois this CD is definitely no dull history lesson, and is also a fine travel guide. 
 
 - Maurice Dielemans

*See review in Dutch here.