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Label: Rankoutsider Records
Distr: Sonic Rendezvous


In 2005 Stace England released "Greetings from Cairo, Illinois," one of the best albums of the year.  What England & Co. produced on the CD, the successor to "Lovey Dovey ALL the Time" (2003) and "Peach Blossom Special" (1999), was something in a rare class.  England returned to his roots in Cairo, Illinois and documented the history of the town in music, a project he worked on for five years.  The local tourist office can be proud, because even with the horrific details that the town tries to hide, he painted a picture of a small community pulled apart by its location between Southern and Northern mentality.  Many musical styles developed and flourished in Cairo, and this CD is at its best when England's songs are influenced by the atmosphere of the time he is describing.  It's an incredibly beautiful overview for your next trip to America to visit this town at the intersection of the Mississippi and the Ohio.

And now he has released the successor to "Greetings from Cairo, Illinois."  For his fourth album, "Salt Sex Slaves" England once again turned back to the same area as its predecessor, and his interest in the roots of slavery in the State of Illinois. The / Americana scene has been full of expectation about what this would bring.  And it's a lot, because ever since the first listen, we are again deeply impressed. "Salt Sex Slaves" is filled with history and folklore about murder and manslaughter, but in a new context.  Besides the central theme, slavery, he also tells stories about brutal salt production, abduction of free blacks, ghosts and murder in a so-called free state and the Land of Lincoln.  Enlisting the Salt Kings:  Ron Johnson (bass, vocals), Charlie Tabing (guitar) and Dane Spalt (drums) gives the musical accompaniment not only a new sound but it is also extremely varied.  The emotive voice of Stace England does the rest, and he is assisted by guest vocalists such as alt-country legend Jason Ringenberg of Jason and the Scorchers on "Freedom's Star," Wil Maring on "Shawneetown," Chris McKinley on" Salt Sex Slaves" and Mike Lescelius on "Salt King," and they all give England the perfect backing.  Stand out additional players on this CD are Lee Brothers and Robert Bowlin who respectively add tasteful pedal steel and violin on the song "Shawneetown" and produce the necessary melancholy.  The arrangements have a bit more variation and the songs are more mature.

With these thirteen songs on "Salt Sex Slaves" England wants to convince us that we have learned nothing from the lessons of the past and that we continue to make the same mistakes, reasons for us to carefully listen to the messages on this CD.

*See original review here.