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 alt.country / 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.
original review here.