"I wish I had England's optimism. When I listen to this album, I do, in a way. I forget about the corporate world which has arisen and remember how we got here--- or, at least, what I was told about how we got here. I really believed in this country once. Maybe I will again when reason prevails. This album gives me hope.”
- NO DEPRESSION
"My review should end with the last sentence of the epilogue: Listen here, American, it's gonna be alright."
- HOOKED ON MUSIC, GERMANY
“An inscription on a photo on the inside cover reads ‘Listen here American , it's gonna be all right.’ It’s the tomb of a fallen soldier, a protest by distraught parents who lost their son in a war and bearing silent witness. It will probably turn to out to be false hope, but hopefully there will be a growing willingness to listen after hearing the beautiful music of Stace England & The Salt Kings. Four Stars.”
- KEYS AND CHORDS, THE NETHERLANDS
" It's a strong album as ever by England and his band.”
- LUNA KAFE, SWEDEN
"Although it touches on some very heavy subjects, this album breathes HOPE and we can't have enough of that.”
- INSURGENT COUNTRY, THE NETHERLANDS
THE AMAZING OSCAR MICHEAUX
"Now his life and work have been set to music in the new album by Stace England and the Salt Kings called The Amazing Oscar Micheaux. Guest host Ari Shapiro talks to England about the concept album."
- NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO'S WEEKEND EDITION
"The Girl From Chicago is a fantastic track that I personally thank Mr. Micheaux for inspiring which, along with the country inflected Lying Lips are worth buying this hugely impressive album for on their own. 9 out of 10 Rating."
- AMERICANA UK
"In some songs, including 'Veiled Aristocrats' (about light-skinned blacks passing for white), he tackles the issues head on: in others, such as 'The Betrayal,' he does it indirectly. Either way, the high lonesome voices and scalding electric guitars are stirring."
- MOTHER JONES
"An anomaly on the alt.country landscape England has been hitching his scorching bar-band roots/rock to micro-detailed historical narrative since 2005’s Cairo, Illinois."
"There's a quote from Micheaux on the back cover of the disc explaining that his goal was to show the 'colored heart from close range.' England's effort seems to run parallel, showing in these songs the heart of the films, and indeed the heart of the filmmaker. 9 out of 10 Rating."
"This is thinking man's music. This is concept music of a unique nature."
-FOLK AND ACOUSTIC MUSIC EXCHANGE
"He's taken a unique approach to chronicling Micheaux's life by creating a concept album in the spirit of Cat Stevens or The Decemberists."
- WKMS PUBLIC BROADCASTING
"Couple this with Greetings from Cairo, Illinois -- an album about the state, released a few years ago -- and it's safe to say that England is emerging as one of the finest modern historians/songwriters."
- RIVERFRONT TIMES
"To tell a story of a legend is a massive undertaking for anyone and as a whole the story unfolds as a musical tale of wonderment."
- REAL SOUND MUSIC
"With all due respect to Sufjan Stevens, Stace England's 2005 album, Greetings from Cairo, Illinois, is the definitive record/history lesson about the Land of Lincoln. England continues to blend twentieth-century history with roots rock on his forthcoming album, The Amazing Oscar Micheaux."
- RIVERFRONT TIMES
"Intelligent and musically as interesting as ever, England and the Salt Kings make another convincing argument that popular music has a role to play in helping us tell our histories."
"The Amazing Oscar Micheaux continues a string of England's fantastic Schoolhouse Rock-style albums about the region, including Greetings from Cairo and Salt Sex Slaves, which confirm the incredible historical wealth of Little Egypt. 2009 Musician/Band of the Year."
"The band’s electrified Americana proved startlingly contemporary yet utterly appropriate, with the score’s blues and country roots nurtured by the same fertile (and often blood-soaked) soil that yielded Oscar Micheaux’s film."
-CINEMA ST. LOUIS
"The result of their approach is a particularly haunting CD, with England at his best in it's quieter moments. Four Stars."
-CONTROL ALT COUNTRY, BELGIUM
"But with this album England is commentating this brave, gifted man and hopefully many people will discover his life and work now. He really was amazing and so is this album."
-LUNA CAFE, SWEDEN
"The Salt Kings often rock like the Drive By Truckers. This is music for mind, body and spirit, a very nice work. 7 out of 10 Rating."
-PLATOMANIA, THE NETHERLANDS
"Stace England turns up again on this album with another important, forgotten piece of American history with twelve excellent modern pop songs in this tribute to a great American filmmaker who faced immense challenges because he was black."
"The pounding Vendome sounds like a roots-rock version of The Clash, topped with Neil Young's lead guitar."
-HOOKED ON MUSIC, GERMANY
"Stace England understands the art of a concept working in fine roots rocking songs, and even without regard to the history lesson this CD is just very enjoyable.
-ALCOUNTRY.NL, THE NETHERLANDS
"The Salt Kings, with Stace as the guiding factor, infuse the music with a raw American folk and rock sound. It's is a standard band set up with vocals, guitar, bass and percussion, but stylish and beautiful. I think most listeners will find this a very special experience."
-ALTCOUNTRY FORUM, THE NETHERLANDS
Salt Sex Slaves
"Revises the Stones sex-drugs-rock paradigm: history-epiphany-insight.
- UNCUT, UK
“After 'Greetings From Cairo' another fascinating piece of unsurpassed songwriting. Four Stars.”
KEYS AND CHORDS
“A hugely entertaining and dark tale of slaves and salt in Illinois, over a wash of Stones riffage. Eight out of Ten rating.”
- AMERICANA UK
“None of this story would matter here if the music and lyrics on Salt Sex Slaves weren’t worthwhile, intelligent and, to use a hackneyed word, deep. Even setting aside the documentary nature of England’s record, fans of alt.country, Americana, folk and plain old rock & roll will enjoy this CD. Five out of Five rating.”
- NEWS 4 U
“Stace England has used his music as a means to an end and, in doing so, has achieved something no other concept album has, thrown open an unpalatable subject and made the listener care.”
- MAVERICK MAGAZINE, UK
“Another great album from Stace England, which hopefully finds a wide audience in our latitudes."
- DAS ROCKMAGAZIN, GERMANY
“It's another powerful record by England and one, which can enlighten us."
- LUNA CAFE, SWEDEN
“The music recalls the Stones in their best years but is slightly more Americana in style. At first listen the CD is remarkable as a whole but then it even grows further on you. Stace England has already been embraced by a small circle but with Salt Sex Slaves he's ready for a much bigger audience.”
- VELVET MUSIC
“The alt.country / Americana scene has been full of expectation about what this CD would bring. And it's a lot, because ever since the first listen, we are again deeply impressed.”
- ROOTSTIME, BELGUIM
“On his newest, the terrific 'Salt Sex Slaves', England tackles another bit of American history. The songs revolve around topics like the production of salt, kidnapping, slavery and assassination in free country. And all of it happens in a musical context which reverts unabashedly to the Stones at the time of their classic 'Exile On Main Street'.”
- CONTROL ALT COUNTRY
“The band's engaging music includes energetic country rock songs like "Kidnapping Venus" as well as homespun ballads like the heartbreaking 'Shawne-etown.'”
- ILLINOIS ENTERTAINER
“Singer/songwriter Stace England is a man of grand ideas and an infinite sense of history. England doesn't write about a subject so much as he inhabits it, body and soul.”
- TRADEMARK OF QUALITY
“Salt Sex Slaves borrows from the same insights (as Greetings From Cairo, Illinois), making it once again the path for the laudable England, almost a documentary filmmaker who chooses his targets for telling stories with a universal value.”
- ROOTS HIGHWAY, ITALY
“The subjects are not always happy ones but the music is in the fine tradition of The Black Crowes, and peers like Steve Wynn and Dan Stuart.”
- RADIO ONE, BELGUIM
“You almost miss the message of this CD because of the old-fashioned rocking nature of Salt Sex Slaves (Rankoutsider / Sonic Rendezvous) by Stace England & The Salt Kings. The title track, also the first song on the CD, is rock in the style of The Black Crowes and especially The Rolling Stones at the time of Exile On Main Street.”
- ALT COUNTRY.NL
“Salt Sex Slaves" is a CD that revives the spirits forgotten by history such as local legends like the ghosts who still inhabit the Old Slave House.”
- MESCALINA, ITALY
“In Salt Sex Slaves Stace England has created another excellent song cycle about the history of his home state of Illinois, proving again that he has an excellent ear for both music and story telling.”
“The resulting album, "Salt Sex Slaves" is another slice of bizarre U.S. history, weaving together the stories and mythology of brutal salt production, slave breeding and racism in what was supposed to be a free state in pre-Civil War times."
“When England was on the grounds of the house he became overwhelmed. 'This place about knocks you over,' recalled England. 'It's almost like a breathing organism'."
“He let the legends of the house sink into him and though he does not believe in ghosts in the supernatural sense, he said the ghosts of Uncle Bob and whippings and chains live in the third floor as real as the beams of wood, themselves."
- HARRISBURG REGISTER
GREETINGS FROM CAIRO, ILLINOIS
“Top Ten Albums of 2005.”
- GREIL MARCUS (THE VILLAGE VOICE CRITICS POLL)
“Every now and then a CD will find its way onto your stereo and proceed to stomp both your ass and ears into the ground. Stace England's Greetings From Cairo, Illinois is one of those discs, an ambitious work of staggering brilliance and stunning confidence.”
“Singer/songwriter Stace England has made a captivating concept CD about the history of Cairo, Illinois.”
- VPRO DUTCH NATIONAL BROADCASTING
“The closing track, a battered-but-hopeful "Can't We All Get Along," offers some hope for the city's future, with England singing, 'We've been fighting for so long/ It's killing this town'.”
- CHICAGO TRIBUNE
“Cairo Illinois may have been bypassed by the sands of time, but Stace England has created an album that will ensure it's not forgotten any time soon.”
- BLOGCRITICS.ORG (PICKS FOR THE BEST ALBUMS OF 2005)
“Singer-songwriter Stace England's mesmerizing song cycle about political tensions Downstate ranks right up there with Sufjan Stevens' cult hit disc "Illinois."
- CHICAGO SUN TIMES
“Stace England's Greetings from Cairo, Illinois was a gigantic accomplishment. England managed a rare feat-- he crafted a concept album that actually holds together, with individual parts that nearly all stand on their own.”
“All in all, think Johnny Horton's 1959 classic Johnny Horton Makes History, gussied up for postmodern times, and retooled for the 21st century.”
- POP CULTURE PRESS
“These eleven audio post cards tell of the rise and fall of one town doomed by floods and prejudice, and proceed to rock us right into the present.”
- NO DEPRESSION
"Operating on a smaller scale, recording artist Stace England focused on just one Illinois town: Cairo (pronounced kay-row) to create an album that's more accessible and just as satisfying as his indie rock counterpart (Sufjan Stevens)."
“Greetings From Cairo Illinois tells a very interesting story, Stace England has made a fascinating record, an admirable achievement.”
- AMERICANA UK
"Greetings from Cairo, Illinois" is a remarkable disc that grows in splendor with every listen, at a rate that has yet to slow down. Enormously recommended and without question one of the best CDs in this genre this year.”
- ROOTSTIME, BELGIUM
"A disc magisterial in its conception and its execution alike, Stace England’s Greetings From Cairo, Illinois may at a glance appear to be a jape, a goof, instead of an extraordinary meld of music and history.”
"But England wasn't just some fly by night troubadour trying to profit from Cairo's woes. With the help of 50 other local musicians and singers, England had employed an impressive musical range to try and explain the puzzle that is Cairo."
- NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO
"He doesn't detail much vice, which was once the town's bread and butter, but there's lots of race—1909 lynch mob, segregated bus crosses big river, 1967 vigilantes, young Jesse Jackson stops by."
- ROBERT CHRISTGAU, THE VILLAGE VOICE
"It's (Equal Opportunity Lynch Mob) an irony worthy of Randy Newman. England's assuming the mob's perspective is a brave move that few could match."
- LUNA KAFÉ, NORWAY
" . . . Greetings exposes the gritty reality of a city the liner notes describe as "the most fascinating town in America," starting with the a cappella nineteenth-century folk chestnut "Goin' Down to Cairo" and the 1920s-era finger-picked "Cairo Blues. "
- RIVERFRONT TIMES
”Where Mississippi and Ohio Rivers merge into one powerful river lies Cairo. Its days as an important traffic junction have been eroded by time; now it is a dusty borough where racism still slumbers. CD Rating 8 out of 10."
- DE VOLKSKRANT (Dutch National Newspaper)
"For Stace England, the journey on 'Greetings from Cairo' begins and ends in the southern Illinois region from which he hails. If (Sufjan) Stevens is a wanderer, then England is a settler.
- ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH
"Along the way we meet General U.S. Grant, an “equal opportunity lynch mob” and the Committee of Ten Million, a racist organization called “White Hats” thanks to the pale hard hats they wore. Fascinating."
"Stace England's Greetings From Cairo, Illinois not only provides a portrait of the city in question, it succeeds in being a fine album musically . . . Who knows, maybe this long moribund city will finally live up to its potential because of one person's affection and compassion."
- BLOG CRITICS.ORG
“Stace England has made a strong work here. It is pleasing to the ear, creative in its variety and also offers some history, as well as food for thought. One is inclined to believe the songwriter when he says: ‘Cairo, Illinois is the most fascinating town in America’.”
- DAS ROCKMAGAZIN, GERMANY
"The world’s only remaining cool folkie . . . "
"An ambitious, very interesting work entirely dedicated to his city."
- ROOTS HIGHWAY, ITALY
"This is an entertaining record, as much for its History Channel vibe as the music itself."
- HIGH BIAS
"Greetings From Cairo, Illinois from Stace England is an enriching musical trip through the entire history of that city."
- CONTROL.ALT.COUNTRY, BELGIUM
"A concept record that proves history does not need to be boring."
- ALT COUNTRY.NL, THE NETHERLANDS
"Greetings from Cairo, Illinois proves that America is still full of interesting stories, old and new, for the curious to discover and preserve, like old postcards."
- MESCALINA, ITALY
"A both shocking and entertaining document that you will want to use on your next trip through America to visit this city at the merging of the Mississippi and the Ohio."
- PLATOMANIA, THE NETHERLANDS
"The disk is an ambitious concept-album dedicated entirely to the story of the tormented town of Cairo, Illinois and the reasons, while having potential, it did not succeed and develop to compete with other cities."
- IL POPOLO DEL BLUES, ITALY
"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."
- KINDAMUZIK, THE NETHERLANDS
"Greetings from Cairo, Illinois is not so much an album as an auditory history of the city that haunts singer/songwriter Stace England. One listen to the CD and the audience will be haunted as well. . . Cairo is the cultural metropolis that should have been, and England's seminal work lyricises the political corruption, incompetence and racism begetting the once-great river city's downfall."
"The atmosphere of modern-day Commercial Avenue in Cairo is surreal. The wide street was designed to carry large volumes of people and goods through the city's bustling commercial center on the riverfront. Any more, Commercial Avenue is deserted like an Old West ghost town or Hollywood sound stage."
- SOUTHEAST MISSOURIAN
"Stace England's latest album Greetings from Cairo is an elegant and uncompromising look at that sad, storied town, from its roots as a major Midwestern hub during the days of Mark Twain to the ascent (and perhaps simultaneous descent) into a vice economy before exploding with racial tension and subsequently rotting away into a red-state ghetto."
"Cairo (pronounced 'KAY-ro,' like the syrup, not the ancient city in which Westerners risk life and limb nowadays just for buying Big Macs), Illinois is a (sadly) non-fictional town in its death throes, long rife with corruption, racism and limp tourist attractions (Grant Slept Here)."
- MOUVEMENT NOUVEAU, GERMANY
"Our weekly interview has gone deep into Southern U.S.: Cairo, Illinois, is a real ghost town. That's where Stace England has recorded his third solo cd, featuring many ghosts from the past and from the present too."
- MESCALINA, ITALY
"The history is told beautifully and each song is sung in a musical style that has been tailored to the story."
- VPRO, THE NETHERLANDS
“Stace England has maintained a firm creative focus on southern Illinois for most of his adult life. His focus has been kept on the area because of a certain vibe the musician says the area emanates. That vibe reaches all the way down to Cairo, a small town at the southernmost tip of Illinois, which has served as the inspiration for England's latest CD, Greetings from Cairo."